I just got back from a trip and realised something amusing on the way.
So after I got through the airport security checks, passing the various scans, x-rays and security personnel. I was putting my laptop back in my bag, putting on my belt etc and was watching how other people were walking through the metal detectors.
There is this brief moment when people seem completely lost when they walk through. It is like a cross between panic, hesitation, determination, anticipation and frustration. You just pray that they don’t stop you, you try and convince yourself that you didn’t pack anything illegal in you bags or hide anything in your socks and you hope that they don’t go through all your belongings. Its basically like being at the mercy of a higher power and really there is nothing you can do about it.
I was observing this happening to other people, because I can identify with all these feelings and thoughts rushing through my head in this exact situation.
There are usually three phases in the journey through the metal detector.
First one is when you think, “right, everything is alright, I triple checked my pockets, I know whats in my bags and I am confident to go through”.
Second, you look at the security officer on the other side of the detector, lock eyes and try to act as innocent and casual as possible. But as soon as you get in the metal detector your brain decides to go on a holiday and leaves you to fend for yourself. You keep on walking and expecting the detector to beep, meanwhile you look at the security officer for any sign that they might stop you. Your walk at this point has turned to an unnatural disco/gangster/shuffle style walk and your face cant decide whether to try and look cool, happy, serious or relieved, which results in a weird kind of uneasy jittery constipated frown. By now the security officer looks at you even more closely as it is evident that you are not keeping your “shit” together. But you soldier on and keep walking until you pass the security officer nodding, smiling and mumbling something like “great teeth, thanks, see you byeee”. Where after he nods worryingly and you are through.
Third phase is the relived phase, when you look back one more time to see if the person scanning your bags has reacted to anything. Then you realise that you are through and this is when you start acting really cool again, “that was easy peasy, I am a seasoned traveler, I got this covered”. As you see your personal belongings coming down the conveyor belt from the machine you pick them up and take it to a table where you can put everything where it belongs and observe whilst joyfully looking at the other people going through the same mental torment you just went through.