I was nervous all day Thursday and the night before about going on a trip without Sophia. I know she’s fine during the day with Kurt but because I’m the one with the functioning boobs I’ve always been the sole nighttime caregiver, and to top it off Kurt will be feeding her formula because after having her in daycare my freezer supply is depleted and it’s hard to build an excess when she’s always draining me. I tried weaning her onto solid food for one meal a day so that I could pump and save some, but aside from going to bed at 7pm I can’t get her to do anything consistently. It’s just not in her nature.
The other thing that worried me was not the flight like it might be for some people but airport security. I’m not afraid of the uniform, I mock all uniforms, it’s the arrogance and curt manner with which many of them address passengers. Some of them really take their rent-a-cop job much too seriously. They aren’t there for our safety. They’re only there for an illusion of safety. If you really think that making us all look foolish walking around in our stocking feet while ensuring our shoes go in a separate bin from our laptops and reducing our cosmetics to three ounce bottles all contained in a bag no bigger than a quart size, you’re really fooling yourself.
No one seems to question that prior to 9/11 airport security used to make passengers turn on their cell phones and laptops to make sure they function and aren’t just cases for something more sinister than Tetris. They don’t do that anymore. Instead, they tell us tweezers and nail clippers could be used as weapons of mass destruction, no wait, they’re ok. It’s the various liquids consumed internally for nourishment and the viscose liquids used for external personal cleansing and moisturizing that will invoke the wrath of the board-to-tears-wanting-something-exciting-to-happen-team. Oh but it’s for our safety you say. “Whatever it takes to be safe” Really? What if that retarded ‘shoe bomber’ had hid his matches in a plastic bag up his ass? Would a cavity search be ok with you? And don’t answer with, “Oh, but that’s over the top no one would require that of us.” It does give an indication of where your limit is, but it’s not an answer. I’d also like to point out that after the ‘shoe bomber’ incident that it was lighters that were banned not matches. Carrying matches was still ok. And now out of the blue, lighters are no longer a threat, but ‘loose’ lithium batteries are a no-no in checked baggage. I’m at your assistance, so here is how to carry your ‘loose’ lithium batteries. *eye roll*
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Quote generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin but probably by Richard Jackson.
Obviously, I’ve informed myself with the most current random rules, so why was I worried? I didn’t want to pay to check any bags nor risk loosing my one very important bag for my very short trip. Without that one large camera-case-like square black bag my boobies would explode! Oh, wait, sorry I didn’t use the “E” word. Note to self not to use the “E” word in an airport even in whispered conversation.
Kurt assured me that I was not the only on to ever carry a breast pump through security. But I try to never underestimate human stupidity and who knows what a square-ish non-descript black bag with a pump and air tubes may look like to them on those scanner thingies. It may very well look like a bomb. OHMYGOD – I didn’t just use the “B” word. I’d never use the “B” word, ever! Note to self – don’t carry an oddly square black bag and utter the “B” word within a ten-mile radius of any airport, even one that only caters to Cessnas and Pipers.
As Kurt drove me to the airport, I played the possible airport security scenarios in my head. The one that stood out went something like this:
After spotting me in line juggling a square black bag, shoes, quart size clear plastic bag filled with mini bottles of various viscose liquids, a laptop (because I’m physically attached to it and must carry it with me at all times much like a security blanket), and a regular carry on bag I reach the front of the line and place all of my items on the conveyor belt. My square black bag that was made to be discrete for taking to work is now scrutinized by airport security. “Ma’am, can I ask what’s in the bag?” I bite my tongue to keep from answering that type of question in my usual smartass manner. “It’s a breast pump.”
There is snickering from the two TSA girls that are now behind him. “Can you open the bag for me ma’am?”
MYGOD it’s so tempting to give a quip that would instantly emasculate him. I keep reminding myself that it isn’t the time to be a smartass. There is no freedom of speech in an airport – the humorless bastards. “Of course” I say. The pump I use is an old Medela model that I bought on eBay. You may think it’s gross to buy such a personal item used but I replaced the personal parts and anything that typically is exposed to the breast milk. I open the flap that covers one zippered pouch in the front and two on the top, and then unzip the two top compartments. One is insulated for keeping pumped milk cool and the other houses the personal things that attach to my person and make me feel like I belong in the barn at a dairy farm. I open the small front pouch that reveals the air tubes and control panel. This is when my warped mind flies way off the deep end.
In my ultimate TSA attitude scenario, Mr. TSA realizes that the compartments don’t reveal the entire inside of the bag. He becomes a little twitchy. I explain that the area not exposed by the compartments houses the pump part of the breast pump. He doesn’t care and asks how he can know for sure. Cringing at the thought of him possibly wanting a demonstration of the pump at work, I suggest that I could plug it in. This actually causes further aggravation because he now believes my black bag is going to take out the whole terminal. At this point relying on a hand pump doesn’t seem so bad. I have a hand pump that came with the electronic one and I’ve used it a couple times. I don’t like it. It takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R and I’ve never wanted to build my forearms up like a lonely man with a bottle of lotion.
I abandon the airport scenario here because I’m sure you’ll wave the bullshit flag when I mention the bomb sniffing dogs, S.W.A.T team repelling down the walls, the helicopters, and the acrobatic way in which they combined their efforts to whisk my bag into a blast proof room and detonate it.
The way to my destination was relatively uneventful except for the new annoying recording they play while going through security.
Transportation security officers need to quickly determine whether or not a bag possibly contains a threat. You already know you’re not a threat, show us by packing smart. Think layers. One layer of clothes, one layer of electronics. That way, it’s easier for us to determine what’s in your bag. Mam, boarding pass and id. Also, being prepared when you approach the checkpoint will make the whole process a lot faster. Lastly, don’t forget to carry only three ounce, travel-sized liquids, gels and aerosols when taking them in your carry-on bag and remember to put them in a clear, quart-sized, resealable plastic bag and place them in the security bin. So next time, simplifly your bags and you could get through security a little faster.
The, “show us” bit really bothers me. Does it sound like innocent until proven guilty to you? Or maybe the other way around?
I only had a tiny issue with carrying 4 ounces of sun block instead of the allowed three ounces within a bottle specifically labeled as 3 ounces, four being right out! Yep, they’re that anal. The nice TSA person let it slide, which confirms for me that the rules are truly unimportant and just plain retarded.
My breast pump didn’t cause any problem whatsoever until the way back. I swear the technician radiated the hell out of it trying to figure out what was in the bag. As I looked down the conveyor to grab my other bag he sized me up, just stared at me. I could see the little hamster running on its wheel. He was trying to decide whether to inspect further. I started to get nervous all over again, but it either, didn’t show (yeah right), they have no clue how to identify body language, or the only reason he was eyeing me was that he just wanted to know what that damn thing was, and I wasn’t about to tell him.
It’s not that I’m embarrassed about carrying a breast pump. I loathe having to explain myself. Obviously I don’t mind writing about me, but this is on my terms. So if I had been forced to explain it would have come out something like, “It’s a FUCKING breast pump, okay?” Yes, I retain all the qualities of a defiant teen except the wheelie shoes. He finally said, “I have to let this one go.” Thankfully the wiring for a breast pump is all wrong for a bomb (damn, there’s that ‘B’ word again). They also paused on the sun block and let it go, again.
I walk away feeling like I got away with something because I had an extra ounce of sun block in my bag, but you can carry scissors with blades shorter than four inches. There is no length restriction on Knitting and Crochet Needles, but “tools” must be less then seven inches. In there link about matches and lighters they write,
Lifting the lighter ban is consistent with TSA’s risk-based approach to aviation security. First and foremost, lighters no longer pose a significant threat. Freeing security officers up from fishing for 22,000 lighters every day (the current number surrendered daily across the country) enables them to focus more on finding explosives, using behavior recognition, conducting random screening procedures and other measures that increase complexity in the system, deterring terrorists. The U.S. is the only country in the world to ban lighters – all other nations, including Israel and the U.K., do not.
I find it amusing that they’re telling us how tedious the ban on lighters was and for some reason felt that it was necessary to mention that no other country had the retarded rule.
I laughed when the ban of liquids came into place. We’re made of mostly water and do I need to empty my bladder before going through security, were my thoughts. Though I knew it was an absurd rule it didn’t really bother me until now. Airlines don’t serve free drinks anymore. Even prisoners get free water, but for an airline passenger it’ll cost $2.00. Of course you can buy it in the secured areas of the airport, but where I was, it was $2.00 plus tax. Tell me the system ain’t stupid. By the way, if you’re traveling with a children you are allowed to bring breast milk, formula, and juice. And nursing moms are allowed to carry breast milk even when traveling without their baby. You just have to have it out and warn them before they see it or they may freak out and bleed from the eyes.