When I saw this topic on the 365 challenge calendar about 2 weeks ago, I dreaded it. I didn't think I would have anything interesting to say, socks are so boring.
Boy, was I wrong.
The most well-known and awful part about flying is having to go through the security check and spending what feels like hours in the process. You end up standing in your socks in a long line while all of your possessions move away from you in little grey bins on a conveyor belt.
In 2001 a terrorist tried to blow up a plane with a bomb in his shoe and ever since air travellers have had to take off their shoes and send them through the XRay machine.
There's no way to capture the masses of people all standing in their socks since all the camera equipment is going through an XRay. Thus, I decided to take pictures once we arrived at the baggage claim with just my iphone.
There were lots of travellers wearing socks with slip-on shoes like sandals, which makes sense since it's faster to take your shoes on and off.
Photo #1 intrigues me - it's my favorite "story" although the photo is blurred. I'd love to know how this guy lost his sandal on the flight from Frankfurt to Chicago. It seems where ever I travel, I tend to notice the weird stories. But this blog is long because it doesn't stop with other people's stories - today, I have my own story to tell.
Our vacation started with the hassle of my boarding card not being printed for online check-in. This meant we had to wait in line at the ticket counter to only then find out the real reason why: I had been “randomly” selected for the extra-special security check.
Extra-special security check at the Frankfurt airport means I was personally escorted to an isolated section and in the process by-passing many miserable people standing in a long line. I tried to tell myself it's like getting the VIP treatment and it just may be faster. Ahem. No, it is not.
What kind of artificial intelligence algorithm could possibly chose me as Germany's Next Top Terrorist*? I'm an older, white, grey-haired woman with arthritis - why me? How could I be threatening? and what ever happened to ethnic profiling?
This isn't the first time I've had extra-special security treatment and just a few months ago I was talking to a colleague at work, Mohamed, who was born in Egypt and is about 32 years old, whether he gets special security checks given his name and country of birth and everything: no.
I cannot believe it. Not even on the way to the US. Now, don't get me wrong, Mohamed is a great guy and we work together well and all...but, to be honest and I think you'd all agree, he definitely looks more like a terrorist than me ...
So what is extra-special security like? There are 5 people exclusively dedicated to me to find anything on me or in my possessions and they all apply multiple means to test and find out. There are still the bins and the X- Ray but they also patted me down and questioned me about the contents of my hand luggage like my medications (“and that powder, sir , is called pro-biotics, I have stomach issues and it helps with digestion...”)
At the end, they didn't find anything and I had the fun of putting everything back into my bags and could finally put my shoes back on. I really needed them now because I had to run for my flight after spending sooooo much time in security.
To think, I actually believed that I would have nothing to say about something as boring as socks....
*This is a play on words: there is a local TV series called Germany's Next Top Model which is hosted by Heidi Klum.