Standing in a particularly slow moving airport security line yesterday afternoon, I had the leisure to watch a curious thing unfold. As you’ve probably noticed, where there used to be just the massive block of waiting travelers, there are now a couple of different sub-options for getting yourself through the security mess. For a long time now it’s been possible to cut to the front of the line. No matter who’s been waiting, or for how long, you show up and you’re the next one up for full TSA personal space violation. Newer is the option of going through a fully separate line, a line that allows you to keep your shoes on, your laptop in your bag, and to submit yourself to neither radiation nor molestation. I’m sure you all are familiar with these developments; some of you may even be in on them. I, personally, still belong to the group that watches with envy and resentment as the privileged few breeze through the place of my captivity.
What I saw yesterday was a couple of elderly ladies who may very well have been playing the system. The first I saw of them, they were being escorted by a burly police officer out of the line marked for employees’ only. They looked to be somewhere around 80 years old and they tottered out in front of him, not with the shame or humility I would imagine myself feeling, but chatting with each other, presumably about where they maybe needed to go instead. To get to their next choice, they had to walk around the giant line I stood watching them from. There’s no way they missed seeing it. But they headed straight for the other empty line, the one where you get to keep your shoes on. I watched. Maybe they were meant to be in that line and had just gotten a little confused. But when they got to him, the agent looked at their tickets and did not wave them through. They did not walk away. They stood there, saying who knows what to the agent, to one another, looking at the tickets again, looking confused and bewildered, and not budging. The whole thing lasted about one minute, the time it took me to advance maybe five feet in my line, and then the confused, bemused agent decided to wave them through.
Best advertisement I’ve seen for aging in a long time.