So - of course - that was the very day that as I approached the metal detector - shoeless - beltless - other items efficiently placed in the correctly sequenced bins - boarding pass in hand - heart rate slightly elevated as I noticed it was already 9:50 (They're boarding!) - a particularly stern looking TSA agent glared at me from the other side of the walk-thru metal detector.
As I stepped through - without the alarm sounding - suddenly his arm was in front of me and he loudly uttered the dreaded words - "Secondary Screening!" And with that he directed me to the little holding area off to the side where I was to await further screening. You know - the airport equivalent of a sobriety check point with handheld metal detector - pat down - quick peek at your undies, etc.
"Great! Perfect! Just what I needed. Okay - deep breath - just do it and get it over with."
Into the Valley of Death
I don't really know what came over me - but it was at that precise moment that I took a very deep breath - heaved up my chest to its full capacity - and yelled at the top of my lungs - as though I was at the Grand Canyon and calling to a friend on the opposite rim, miles in the distance - "SECONDARY SCREENING!"
In an instant - all was silence. It was like magic. It was as though I had pulled the emergency stop lever on a speeding train. Indeed, you could almost hear a screech as suddenly - instantly - the entire seething mass of frenzied activity around me came to a complete and total standstill.
For probably 5 full seconds - every single face in the security area - every passenger - every TSA agent - every cop - EVERYONE - was staring directly at me - in dead silence. Five seconds may not sound like a long time - but trust me - under those circumstances it seemed like five minutes.
And then - just as suddenly - all was action and noise and movement again. Everyone returned to their tasks and activities as though nothing had happened. Everyone - that is - except for one rather large and intimidating lookingTSA agent whose eyes had narrowed to evil looking little slits and whose brow was knitted into furrows of deep interest and annoyance. No, he had not returned to whatever he had been doing before my Grand Canyon moment. No. He now had an entirely new focal point of interest which had his full, undivided - and obviously annoyed - attention. And that new point of interest was Me.
He stared at me like that for about twenty of the longest seconds of my life - and then with a look that just oozes "Ooookay - what have we got here?" he slowly started walking over to me - his head at a slight angle as he looked down the length of his nose - straight at me.
When he was finally standing next to me he continued to size me up for a few more seconds - then - ever so slightly - he smiled with some sort of deep inner satisfaction - and without saying one word - proceeded to wave his metal detecting wand around me - patted down my legs and arms - stood erect in-front of me - a last menacing look in my eyes - and said "Have a nice flight sir".
I made it to the gate just in-time that day. But I must admit - from that day on I did manage to add an extra 15 minutes to my allotted security line time-budget.