I was amused that Midway Airport in Chicago where my trip originated doesn’t use the backscatter scanners, but the airport in supremely laid back San Jose does. I wasn’t expecting it, so I was a bit flustered at first, but it starts out with the usual routine: empty your pockets, take off your shoes, scarves & coats…but can I Leave My Hat On? (You know I can’t resist. And I’m bettin’ the hat has to come off.)
But then it’s time for that interesting addition to the Traveler’s Two-step: you step into the scanner and you…assume the position. Yeah, I used to watch ‘Hill Street Blues’ back in the day (be careful out there), but I guess I didn’t watch it closely enough, because I needed a refresher on holding my hands over my head properly and looked more like a dumbass than a perp. (Perhaps the pose too closely resembles a jumping jack, an exercise with no purpose other than to cause your innards to settle. Pass.)
This is where I hit a slight snag – I’d forgotten about my freaking ankle bracelets (metal, of course). Yeah, yeah, I know I’m perhaps a bit long in the tooth for ankle bracelets, but I LOVE the way they jingle when I walk, or even better, when I go to Zumba class – makes me feel like a red-hot mama as I shake my moneymaker and make my jelly roll, whilst avoiding throwing out my back. Anyway, I did the “Oh, crap, I’m so sorry; I forgot I was wearing ‘em” routine and the TSA staff kindly invited me over to the sidelines for a slight pat-down. Given that I’m a female, I received the attentions of a female patter-downer – dammit. Don’t get me wrong; she was nice enough, even laughed politely (no eye roll) at my “I should make you buy me a drink first” smartassery, but c’mon! Gimme a cute male patter-downer & I’ll buy him a drink. (Yeah, suspect she’d heard that one way too many times, too – kept my mouth shut about it.)
They cleared me with no further fuss and sent me on my way. I admit to being embarrassed that I was wearing my big cotton granny panties; with a little notice, I could’ve totally rocked some butt floss. Why not? Hell, I was heading for a short layover in Vegas; I could’ve gotten some mileage out of my thongage and suggested a great new show for the Strip: Wet, Wild, Wideload Women. What? Hey, it could happen – and what happens in Vegas, baby! But I was also relieved I’d done a full top-to-bottom leg shave and cleaned up my bikini line – you just never know! (Damned hair fixation.)
Now I’m safely back in chilly Chicago (did I mention how lovely the February weather was in San Jose?) and in retrospect, I have a few questions for TSA, though not about possible radiation risks. Hell, I checked that out via a CBS News website back when all the controversy was raging, just out of curiosity. Bottom line: much ado about nothing, because the amount of radiation you actually get in one airport scan = amount of radiation you get flying on the airplane for one minute. (For that matter, sharing your bed with a partner for one year = 200X the radiation dose from one airport scan. Plan to sleep alone from now on? Didn’t think so.) *snap & sniff* No, I'm wondering whether they can see…things.
Will that breakfast granola bar be churning away in full view; will they be able to tell you are sans gall bladder and/or appendix? Can they tell if perhaps you should have that funky mole checked out? Can they tell whether you’re an innie or an outie? Oooooh, I feel so violated! (But I kinda like it – muchas gracias, Underwear Bomber!) And what about your really private parts – your internal organs? Can they see that growth on your spleen – you know, the growth you don’t know you have? If yes, is there some moral and/or medical imperative for TSA to tell you that you may wanna see a doctor about that? (Yes, it has been suggested I have hypochondriacal tendencies.)
But this initially promising tangent for exploration is a bust, based on these pics I found on Youtube – no peek-a-boo innards that I can see.
But on a positive note, I now have an assortment of alternative scanner poses. Yeah, baby! Next time, I’m gonna rock Pose #3 (Ms. March), or maybe #11 (Ms. November); they both just scream class and refinement. Don’t think I didn’t notice that the scanner seems to take off several pounds – it’ll be the best pic I’ve had in years.