It’s 4:45am on a Monday morning, and my flight from Washington, DC to Charlotte, North Carolina is set to depart in 90 minutes. I haven’t made it through security yet, but my friend tells me it should be “no problemo” -- it’s so early we should be able to cruise through. I’m more skeptical. I don’t think she usually flies with people who look like me.
Midway through the line, a TSA agent pulls me aside to swab my palms for explosive powder. For the 15 minutes we’ve been in line, I’m the only person who’s been pulled away for this drill. When we get to the metal detectors, I go through without a beep, and yet the agent asks me to step aside for frisking and pat-downs.
Finally I’m allowed to pass through to pick up my bags from the conveyor, but I already know I’m not going to see my backpack come out the other side. Sure enough, it’s been redirected on the other conveyor at the security checkpoint for more detailed inspection. As it always is.