With the biggest travel weekend of the year coming up, chances are a lot of us will be hitting our great nation’s major airports. Plane travel is certainly a privilege, but it doesn’t come without its sacrifices...namely your dignity. Being forced to muscle through TSA lines from hell, then strip while busting out a Ziploc bag showcasing your lube and preferred miniature lotion brand isn’t easy for anyone. To get your head in the game, we’ve broken down the eight phases of emotions experienced while trying to get through the dreaded airport security during the craziness that is holiday travel season.
1. Anxious Preparation
It’s almost midnight, and you’ve got a 6 a.m. flight tomorrow. Of course, you haven’t started packing yet. There are so many rules to remember. Wait, how many liquid ounces are allowed? And do you still have to put that mini mouthwash and toothpaste in a clear plastic bag? It’s not cold where you are, but it’s freezing where you’re going, so you’ve got to factor in lugging a heavy coat, too. Maybe you should just drive. It will only take three days to get across the six states you have to cross to see your family. It honestly seems way less stressful than making sure you don’t get arrested for trying to smuggle a full-sized body wash through security.
2. Optimistic Denial
This is the adorable stage. You actually believe you’re going to get through this smoothly. Man, that’s cute. You’re headed to the airport thinking you’ve got nothing but time. Maybe the security line won’t even be that long. Maybe there won’t even be a line at all. You’re not checking a bag (and if you are, what is this, amateur hour?), and you’ve got your carry-on packed with scientific precision for optimal toiletry and laptop removal. What could possibly go wrong? You’ll be at the gate within 10 minutes of arriving at the airport, wondering why you didn’t let yourself sleep longer.
3. Palpable Angst
Okay, so the queue is a little on the long side…like, eight layers of lines deep. There are children screaming at their parents and parents screaming at their cell phones. What the hell type of animal is in the carrier that guy is toting? And does this fool ahead of you have every accessory that will asked to be removed known to man on her person? How many rings can one woman wear?! Crap. You forgot your phone charger. Wait, where is your ID? Never mind; it’s in that weird side pocket on your purse. Thank God you have it. Now where is the boarding pass you printed?!
4. Paralyzing Fear
You’re inching slowly toward the security guard at the podium—you know, the smug one taking his sweet time, making mindless small talk with every passenger rolling through this transportation hub like nobody has anywhere to be. With a death grip on both your license and boarding pass, you suddenly remember the ballerina flats you’re wearing get rather funky-smelling...and you’ve started to slightly perspire (okay, you’re profusely sweating) due to worry you might miss your flight. Damn, is that gnarly foot smell going to waft everywhere when you’re forced to remove your shoes ? All these bad scent thoughts make you remember you packed your new expensive perfume. Is the number of fluid ounces the bottle holds TSA-approved? You’ll take a full cavity body search or some straight-up jail time before you surrender your Coco Chanel to that female TSA agent.
5. The Potentially Panic-Inducing Main Event
Something nonsensical has been scribbled onto your boarding pass, which means it’s GO TIME. With haste, you take off your sensible, easily removable flats. Because nobody likes the idiot who holds up the line with a complicated tall leather boot situation. Laptop removed from its case and in a separate bin? Check. The short security guy with a bad goatee and a worse power trip yells at you to remove your scarf. You flinch but manage to obey without smirking or rolling your eyes. Good job, girl. You’ve just got to proceed through the giant, scary and potentially cancer-causing X-ray machine with poise and ease—then you’re almost there.
6. Minor (Yet Very Stressful) Detour
They send you through the old-school metal detector instead. It frantically starts beeping. The volume of the alarm is deafening. Everyone shoots death rays your way as if you might indeed being trying to transport a bomb via your hair bun. Someone yells, “FEMALE SECURITY CHECK!” and a commanding woman in uniform pounces toward you. She shoves a wand in your pits and around your torso. Was it your bra’s underwire that caused the alarm and led everyone in a 30-foot radius of you to suspect you might be a terrorist? The TSA agent pats your hair for good measure, then tells you you’re good to go.
7. Sweet, Sweet Victory
It’s over; you did it! What an adrenaline rush. Is this what heaven feels like? Did you just come through airport security or run a marathon? Is there a difference? Assuming you don’t have to do the frantic, awkward run-with-a-roller-suitcase because your plane’s gate is closing in less than a minute, you revel in the options that lay before you. Will you get a coffee? Will you read every magazine Hudson News has to offer without actually purchasing any of them? (But please by Women's Health, okay, because we're clearly the best.) YOU COULD BUY CANDY. Lord knows you’ve earned it.
You nestle into your window seat and sigh with relief. At last, the worst is behind you. Then, you suddenly realize: You left your laptop at the TSA checkpoint! Yep, you most definitely should have just taken a car.
All gifs courtesy of Giphy.com.