Without rules, society breaks down, so I’m not saying they aren’t necessary. Some, however, have gotten out of control. Take airport screening, for example. It’s not always about safety; it’s sometimes about power. Read any newspaper, and you will periodically see a story about an airport official separating parents from a young child, or conducting invasive or unnecessary searches on babies or the elderly. I personally think the people that do these things are generally a minority of small-minded creeps on a power kick. Proper security people don’t tear toddlers away from their parents.
So here’s my story: I was stopped once at Sydney airport. I had my daughter’s backpack. My daughter went through with mum, and I followed. In my possession, was a bottle of, apparently, plane hijacking water. Yep, here was my cunning plan:
“EVERYBODY DOWN!” Or I’ll OPEN THE WATER!”
I was taken aside and gruffly told: “water was verboten”. When I suggested to the officer that water in a child’s sippy cup might not be much of a weapon, he responded by telling me to empty the entire contents of my bag (which had passed security without a problem), and the entire contents of my child’s bag, as well. That done, he didn’t even search through the laid out goods. He was just making a point – HE was in charge, and security was not the issue. Thanks mate, I feel so much safer now.
I am all for safely boarding a plane, without having to worry if the guy next to you is wearing a hat made from a pound of plastic explosives, but let’s have some degree of common sense at airports. Security people and passengers seem to have developed a combative relationship, (and I freely acknowledge, I have been unnecessarily rude to well meaning security people), so let’s all try and be a little compromising. Security has a job to do ensuring safety. They don’t have a job to do, using their power for evil.
Passengers clearly want to get into the free beer on the plane as soon as possible, but should be mindful of reasonable requests from security personnel. So everyone – be nicer to each other!
I will make an effort to smile and happily take off my belt and shoes, even if the girl in front of me is allowed to go through unmolested wearing hand grenade earrings. In return, I’d like to be treated like a person, and not like an enemy combatant.
Many years ago a dear friend gave me a bit of advice I have often quoted over the years:
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice”.
Corny? Maybe – True? Definitely.