I have been traveling for nearly a week now, and as I flew home today two things occurred that I would like to share.
The first happened as I was going through security. I fly a lot and know that occasionally everyone gets pulled out for special screening. But it's been my observation that – at least in my case – this happens based on some random (translate: unlucky) code written on your boarding pass, and I knew that had not happened today. So I was pretty surprised when I got pulled out of line – after already going through the initial metal detector - by a guy wearing a headset. "Ma'am," he said. "You need to step aside for a moment." Good grief, I was thinking. What now? Did I forget a tweezers or something equally dangerous in my luggage? He called on his head set for a female screener to do a pat down.
I was wearing a sweatshirt like top which has a front pouch pocket. I like this for flying since I can stick my boarding pass, cell phone, etc, right there and have them very handy. The female screener arrived and immediately patted down my front midsection – and discovers my… (drum roll) reading glasses. She showed them to the man who had pulled me out of line, who still did not release me until he reported over his headset that "the midsection screen was clear." I don't know whom he was talking to or where I was being watched from, but just the small odd bulge caused by my READING GLASSES was noticed.
Based on this, I am much more inclined to think that the idea that Gov. Palin was too frightened to wear any sort of prosthetic pregnancy through airport security is likely, explaining why no one really noticed she was pregnant on April 17th as she flew from Dallas to Anchorage. (Or why she was NEVER challenged on the ten previous flights she took from Febraury 23rd on...and not all of these were on Alaska Air.) The chances of it being detected I now think were probably greater than I had previously assumed. If they had patted her down for any reason – and it just happened to me, just about the most innocuous flier imaginable – and found it, there might have been real repercussions. It was a risk she could not take.
The second happened as I was checking email, waiting for my flight. Sitting next to me in the boarding area were an elderly Jewish couple from Fort Lauderdale. I'd say they were both close to eighty. Her name was Zellie, his was Howie. They have twelve grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and have visited Israel nine times. They used to live in New Jersey. I learned all of this (and a lot more) in about ten minutes. I chatted with Zellie for a while then, when she picked a new victim (a woman sitting across from her) I got out my laptop to check email. In my in-box was an email with an attachment sent in by someone who has been corresponding with me since the beginning of my efforts. The attachment was a spoof wanted poster, like you'd see on the side of a milk carton, entitled "Where's Bristol?"
I opened the graphic and was staring at it, when Zellie piped up next to me. "I'm so glad," she said, "that someone is doing something."
I glanced over at her, and realized she was looking at my computer screen. My first thought was regret over not having one of those privacy filters that I've seen advertised, and for a moment I missed the sense of what she was saying. "What?"
She pointed to the poster. "I'm glad someone is doing something," she repeated, "about that Bristol Palin thing." I realized then that she did not understand that the poster was a joke.
"Really? Why is that?"
She looked at me, her eyes implying that I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. "Well, you don't really think that poor little girl is pregnant, do you?"
I wanted to see where this was going. "I don't know what to think," I said, noncommittally.
"Well, she's not," Zellie asserted. "And I'm glad someone is doing something. Because those people have something terrible planned for her, just you wait and see."
So here's my open message to "those people:" Zellie is a bubbe from Fort Lauderdale, who probably does not even own a computer. She's almost certainly never surfed "left wing" websites or read a "radical blog." (Like this one, I guess.) Based on her demographic, it's a good bet she may have voted Republican in the past. And she knows that the whole Bristol story stinks, to the point that she's sitting in an airport, telling a random total stranger, that "something terrible" is planned for "that poor little girl."
You guys got more of a problem than you think.
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