…in Comparison to Those Traveling with Kids: A User’s Guide
Step 1: How to enjoy the aggravatingly long security line.
The initial line to get through security is one many users find disappointingly long no matter the time of day, week, or year. It can be tempting to vow to never travel again, give up on the trip altogether, or begin a loud rant about excessive security measures unlike “back in the day.”
The best way to eradicate these feelings is to focus the attention on every individual in the near vicinity traveling with children.
You’ll notice instantly that children feel just as passionately impatient about waiting in such a long line of people; but unlike their adult counterparts, they make their emotions clear through actions including but not limited to: Whining incessantly, running “amok,” and even throwing the occasional temper tantrum.
The most vital aspect of Step 1 is to observe the looks of disdain, exhaustion, and (most importantly) regret on the faces of the parents.
When following this step correctly, you should find that the airport security line—no matter its length—is in fact quite enjoyable, with all of the standing around and zoning out you are able to do without concern over anyone else, particularly an impatient child.
For added benefit, you may remind parents that security technically hasn’t even begun yet.
Step 2: How to enjoy always getting the wrong amount of security screening bins.
Upon officially entering the TSA security zone, you must select the correct number of bins to hold all of your belongings without overcrowding any particular bin while also not taking up the entire conveyor belt while also somehow ensuring that each of your electronics has an entire conveyor belt to themselves.
Because of these strict standards, TSA guarantees no traveler will ever select the correct amount of bins in relation to their quantity of belongings.
Often, users find this to be the most irritating aspect of the airport security process.
However, as you carefully separate your bag of 3-ounce liquids from your coat, your shoes, your belt, your perishables, and everything you brought that once touched a battery, the best way to maximize your enjoyment during Step 2 is to count how many bins traveling parents are required to get.
Not only do they need to account for themselves, but for every additional person in their family, every additional person in their family’s belongings, and the startling amounts of screened electronics they had to pack in an effort to keep their children from getting on the wrong plane like that one episode of Full House, or worse, crying in public.
Step 3: How to enjoy the possibility of athlete’s foot from standing around without shoes in one of the most traversed establishments in the world.
The best way to enjoy the likelihood of a fungal infection is to remind yourself that, unlike children, athlete’s foot will go away.
Step 4: How to enjoy the airport’s full-body scanner that can see your nipples and your penis if you have one.
The final step in gaining TSA’s approval is to stand in their specialized full-body scanner with your arms up like you’re under arrest, your feet soaking up whatever bacteria the previous millions of travelers have left behind, and your body’s most intimate details out on display.
The most effective way to fully enjoy Step 4 is to take a deep breath, think about the cost of your flight, and remember the best part about your entire trip: You only had to pay for your own ticket.
Step 5: How to enjoy being felt up (and down) by a TSA security guard.
Think of it this way: At least you don’t have to explain to your kid why you let a stranger touch your privates in public.
Step 6: How to enjoy getting all of your belongings back in order after making it through security.
Upon completing airport security, you will be required to simultaneously gather your laptop, phone, belt, snacks, backpack, anything previously removed from your pockets, sweatshirt, coat, and travel bag of 3-ounce liquids while also replacing those bins, zipping up your wide-open-for-some-reason suitcase, and trying to put on your shoes that regrettably have laces.
Next, SEE STEP 2.
Bonus: How to enjoy Au Bon Pain when you didn’t think it was possible.
Studies show that sandwiches—even sandwiches that are soggy on the inside, cut your gums on the outside, and yet still have no flavor anywhere to be found—are better when you don’t also have to buy one of those rideable suitcases that even the cutest child looks stupid using. ❏
Rachel Marsh is an award-winning writer and a non-award-winning comedian living in Chicago. Click on her byline to read Rachel’s previous WryTimes pieces.