It’s not just the TSA, the police and taxi drivers who are useless, stupid, jobsworths. Although, anyone with any smattering of power that can be held over you becomes an asshole of the most demoralising proportions.
On my way back to England for Christmas, I had to use those dreadful full-body scanners. Having read about them previously, I knew that refusing them would have meant an “enhanced pat-down”. That’s not rape, because you’re essentially allowing it to happen to protect us from the really dangerous people (and if you want to make your flight/not get arrested), and you can’t rape the willing! Anyway – I chose to have scanned images of my non-blurry, naked body forever stored on some greasy, filthy, inbred perv‘s flash drive, instead of being groped while the TSA steals things from my suitcase.
When I flew back from Heathrow, I wasn’t questioned, pulled aside or subjected to a random bag search. And no, we didn’t have those stupid fucking scanners/grope-fests, either (fyi, neither does the world’s most secure/most at-threat airport security). Last time I did have to surrender my carry-on bag for a quick search because of this FUCKING PEN (which they later guffawed at upon realizing that it was a pen, and what it was from).
The last English voice I heard was a pleasant, smiling “thank you” from the cabin crew on my flight as all the passengers exited.
The last time I went through Passport Control (last year), I was taken aside for questioning because I’d been out of the country too long. The agent at the desk was a total asshole (no, being English, I did NOT create a fuss or even inferred that I was fussed), and tried to tell me that I didn’t live in America. I couldn’t think of a way to say “I have a green card and a husband and a home and three cats” without sounding like a condescending bitch, so I just repeated that I did in fact live in America. Back and forth for about ten minutes.
It must feel good to put some unassuming, naively optimistic dunce in her place because you’ve exercised the great power you have to delay her plans, call her a liar, ruin her good mood and generally make her feel like a piece of shit. Sort of like slapping a whore’s face with your tiny little willy even though she’s not good enough to deserve it.
Got into the questioning room and the bloke behind the desk just said, “so you’ve been working back home, saving up some money, just trying to get settled financially here?” I said yes, because that was the truth, and he said he knew it was difficult, and told me I could go. This one actually smiled. He must have seen it a million times.
This time I got a mumbler at Passport Control. I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. I felt compelled to engage with his socially-awkward small talk for fear of being branded on some kind of similarly socially-awkward government watch list. I told him I’d bought some biscuits (yummy ones from Fortnum & Mason), some tea and chocolate, all at the Duty Free, and if I’m meant to go through the Nothing to Declare Line. He said yes (as had the woman who was ushering people into lines).
(Bet you know where I’m going with this)
I get to the baggage claim, and an adorable puppy keeps sniffing my Yo Sushi! bag full of noodles I thought would keep that I brought from Heathrow (it didn’t…never try to eat refrigerated food you’ve stored on a plane). Being stupid enough to carry a great big bag with the word “Sushi!” on it, I quickly clarified that I had no fish and it was just noodles and rice (no fruit or meat/dairy). He said I was OK to go through the Nothing to Declare line.
I finally get all my bags off the belt and start searching through the last one for my coin purse (that I kept my American change in), because it had my US SIM card and I needed to put it into my new phone. It wasn’t there, so I spent ages rummaging around my handbag, my wallet etc.
Here’s a tip: if you’re the last person standing around at a baggage carousel, the balding, speccy, spotty, pot-bellied, foul-breathed, nasally-voiced little shit of a Customs officer will swagger on over and immediately demand to see your customs declaration form.
Clearly Undersized-penised, Naturally-overcompensating Twat: Tell me about the food you’re bringing into the United States (it’s important that he has to remind me what country I’m in)
Me: It’s all from the Duty Free in Heathrow. I bought some biscuits, tea and some chocolate.
CUNT: Tell me more about the biscuits. (fondles his Dwight Schrute glasses like he wishes he were Horatio Hornblower)
Me: (baffled) Um, they come in a long, cylindrical tin. They’re from the Fortnum and Mason section of the Duty Free in Heathrow.
CUNT: (heavily confused as I did not mention iHOP, bacon or beating minority children with Confederate flag poles) “Cylindrical tin?”
Me: Yes, a tin. That’s a cylindrical shape. With biscuits in.
CUNT: (doing his best Raylan Givens impression) Let’s try this again.
Me: (looking confused, but realising this guy is a total dick who is trying to piss me off so he can ejaculate his power spunk everywhere by justifying the first heroic beat-down in his miserable little puniness of a career) Okay…
(pause; my facial expression: Yes?)
CUNT: (face-punchingly, patronizing voice) You have to declare all food.
Me: Well, two other agents and the pilot of the plane all said that I can pass through the Nothing to Declare line. And I did declare it on my form.
CUNT: (not listening; marks my form with a giant [yes, I know your penis is fucking small, stop being so OBVIOUS] “A”) Go over there. (points to the entire line of Customs desks which are the only fucking thing in front of me)
I went to the Customs desk and they told me I had to go to the “Agriculture” declarations. Because…I had…agriculture? No, I fucking didn’t.
Didn’t matter what the other five people and the pilot over the tannoy had all said. THIS MAN with the BIG FATLY-GIRTHED RED MARKER KNOWS ALL.
I had four very heavy suitcases, that, with a permanently-mangled, disabled elbow, makes it difficult to lift two inches off the floor and onto a wibbling, wobbling, piece of shit luggage trolley in the first place.
So luckily the Agriculture Assholes forced me to lift the bags (assistance was refused) onto the conveyor belt. They were happy to shove them on the other side down a steeper belt to let them bounce off the fucking floor, though. Funnily enough, everything was fine and nothing was confiscated/stolen/destroyed/raped. And my leftover birthday cake was fine.
Sadly my mood was already befouled by reminding me how callous and mood-befouling most employees in American airports are. Tired, emotionally assaulted, jet-lagged and alone, I remembered I also had to start back at work 11 hours later.
The train conductor (I hate trains) saw me 10 feet from the train door, running, spilling scalding hot coffee on my white gloves (and white coat), but jumped on the train and left.
Conductor: “I’m five minutes late.”
Me: “You’re ALWAYS fucking late!!”
Maybe I’ll just move to Canada.