January 05, 2008

Why the FAA Hates My Guts

The more and more I think about it, the more and more I realize that it's probably really easy to confuse me for a terrorist. I mean, every time I go to an airport I wear a black shirt, black leather jacket, carry a grey/black backpack, grey/black laptop bag, black hat (backwards), and black headphones. I'm just old enough to be crazy-radical but not too old to be scared of the implications of my actions. This is all what people see BEFORE I get to security. Security, x-ray machines in particular, bring my terrorist level up many many notches. Why? Well, lets take a quick look at some of the things I plan on carrying onto the airplane in my backpack.

Let's see, what do we have here?

Batteries? check
Hard drive? check
Book about hacking? check
Binary clock? check
Laptop? check
"The Orange Box" (game about killing things)? check
Book about physics? check
Extremist, home-state propaganda? check

Here's what happens when I go through security check points:

[The security officer is perched on a stool, looking at a screen that reveals the innards to any bag passing through their x-ray machine]

Officer: Hi, how are you?
Me: Doing fine.

[Shoes go through machine, no problem. Belt, watch, cell phone go through, no problem. Wii controllers, hard drive, laptop, iPod, camera, headphones go through . . .]

Officer: WOAH!

[The little red light on top of the x-ray machine starts lighting and spinning, other people with badges and guns gather]

Officer: What is this?!
Me: What? The laptop, hard drive, iPod, camera, Wii, or cell phone?
Officer: Um (hesitates), ok . . .

I am then metal detectored, stared at, and waved on. That's my airport experience, every time, from Oregon to MIT and back. I should just wear a sign that says "Don't worry, I go to MIT," but then again, that may not be a good idea either.

We'll see how it goes tomorrow, I'll blog it from the airport (free wi-fi for the win!) 8 short hours!