Thursday, February 25, 2010
The First Trail Hiccup!
This morning, I flew from Seattle to San Luis Obispo. My hair is growing rather wild and I needed a haircut. I don't know about the rest of you, but I like to get it cut here in San Luis, so I booked a flight and off I flew!
It wasn't until I started approaching the security checkpoint that I realized something was very, very wrong. My driver's license was not in my wallet. I emptied that wallet, going through every card and piece of paper, but it just wasn't there. What the heck happened to it?! My driver's license is ALWAYS in my wallet!
Now if you've spent any time in an airport, or read a newspaper, or heard the jokes about the underwear bomber, you know they take things like security seriously at places such as airports. And the lack of an ID can be a bit of a issue with those in charge of security. I once heard, many moons ago, that you don't actually *have* to have an ID to fly. They'll screen you a lot more rigorously if you don't have a valid ID, but they'll still let you through. So I walked up to the lady checking IDs and shamefully admitted that I did not seem to have mine.
She took me aside, in my own private "line," and called a supervisor. The supervisor comes by a few minutes later, and the original woman tells the supervisor about my lack of ID, who then asks if I have anything with my name on it--credit cards or whatever. Oh, yes! I have lots of those! I pull out credit cards, my REI membership card, and then I remembered an old photocopy I had of my passport that I had in case it happened to get lost, stolen, or damaged while I was out of the country, so I pulled that out too. It's just a photocopy, however, but the woman seemed pleased that it did have my photo on it and appeared somewhat legit. But it certainly couldn't qualify as official ID.
She wrote a bunch of S's on my boarding ticket--a series of four of them with a bright orange marker, and I knew that that couldn't possibly be good. She did it twice--once on the ticket stub and once on the ticket itself, then told me to go through security like I normally would, but the guy at the metal detector would "take me aside" for further screening. Sounds like fun.... not!
She kept my ticket, then walked over to the guy at the metal detector giving him my ticket, and I could hear her pointing me out, so I turned around and waved at him so he'd have no doubt that I was the dumb idiot without an ID.
I went through the usual process--taking off my jacket, my shoes, my belt. Taking my laptop and bag of liquids out, running them all through the x-ray machine, then stepped through the metal detector. I didn't set it off, but they whisked me away for a pat-down anyhow.
A team of four security personal (four of them--obviously, I looked quite dangerous!) picked up all of my items and escorted me (and my belongings) aside so they could further invade my luggage. They wouldn't even give me my shoes back yet--it had to be tested for explosives first--even though I know they saw absolutely nothing suspicious in the x-rays.
They tested the shoes, then gave those back to me. The laptop was returned next, then my duffel bag. My backpack they looked through, then decided to run it through the x-ray machine a second time, rummage around its contents some more, and finally returned that to me as well saying that it was now okay for me to go on my merry little way.
And the whole time, I was thinking, "What the heck happened to my driver's license? Where is my driver's license? Why is it not in my wallet?!" I tried to remember the last time I used it for something. It's been eons since I've been stopped by a cop--that hasn't happened since I hiked through Alabama. I haven't had to renew it.
As I was walking to my gate, I finally remembered the last time I used it. To get permission to hike into Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail, I had to send the authorities there a photocopy of a driver's license or passport. So I took out my driver's license, scanned it on the computer, printed it, and mailed it off to the
Canadian authorities. And there's where my driver's license must now be.... sitting at home, in the scanner. Out of sight, out of mind.
If there's one piece of advice I can suggest--never go to the airport without a valid ID. =)
Oh, there's the best part. I still don't have my ID on me, and I still have to fly home..... I'll get to go through this process all over again. =) Curse the trail! It's already making my life miserable!
Posted by Ryan at 2:29 PM