On Avoiding the Wand

I finally figured out why I keep getting cavity searched when I fly. (Well not really, but you know what I mean.)

The last 3 or 4 times I’ve flown out of Dallas-Ft Worth airport, I’ve dutifully removed shoes, watch, placed my iPad in the bin, stood on the yellow footprints, arms up, and then heard security call for a female agent. I knew what that meant. She was coming for me, wand in hand and ready to pat me down, again. They even patted my hair. The Transportation Security Administration agents were always very professional and polite. I, however, was always suspicious and incredulous that I looked like a danger.

I stopped wearing baggy, cotton sweat pants and tops, which were part of my layered strategy to accommodate whatever temperatures I encountered during my travel.

Yesterday, in my no-iron blue oxford and khaki pants I bounced onto the footprints, sure that I would pass quickly move along to collecting my iPad and carry-on bag. To my surprise I heard the male agent say, “Switch.” Instantly a thin female agent took his place in front of me. My countenance dropped. She waved magically over and around me,  finding nothing harmful. Then she swabbed my palms! Good grief. I was passed off to an older agent who advised me it would take a moment for the swab results.

I said, “What did I do to deserve this?”

She replied casually, “Your necklace.”

original jewelry from aSI' Beads

original jewelry from aSI’ Beads

I’m sure my mouth dropped open at that point.  My necklace? Oh my goodness, I feel naked without earrings and always wear a tiny sentimental necklace. Yesterday I was also wearing a colorful chunky one. So my jewelry, which I somehow was unaware of the need to remove, was causing me to fail security and then opened me up to all kinds of attention to remove me as a threat.

Now, I don’t think any of the TSA security folks ever actually thought I was a threat. They were just following protocol, I assume. But how come no one ever told me to take off my jewelry? Was I helping them meet a quota for pat downs?! Well no more! Going forward I will not put on my jewelry till I get to my seat. They will have to find some other gypsy to frisk.

After I fly home tomorrow, I’ll let you know how it went.

Advertisements

Setting up shop at the Starbucks

Well, the other day I had an incredibly productive writing session. I wrote three blog posts, posted one and began notes on a fourth (this one.)

I was at Starbucks, in a comfy, brown, leather chair, with my chai tea latte. I was there a little over two hours. My doctor didn’t want me drinking coffee and I haven’t had a Starbucks line item in the budget for a couple years. However, I have come to the realization that I, like so many other Americans, can not function efficiently without the extra help caffeine offers.

When I was working in finance, every now and then I’d hit the drive-thru for my chai.  So when it comes to sipping inside a Starbucks, I’m a novice. I always get the same thing, but since I was in no hurry, I decided to stand and study the menu. I moved up and ordered my usual – tall, chai tea latte with two extra pumps. Since I was the only order at the moment, he didn’t need to ask my name.

While machines whirled, I started to survey the scene for the best seat. There was a two seat table in the corner, but there was a guy with his laptop at the counter. I felt like I’d be too close to him and perhaps able to see his screen. Just then two ladies left an area with four leather chairs and two low tables. I slid into the farthest chair, facing the door. Soon I had my beverage and was clicking away on my iPad. 3 coffee cups

I noticed some of the people around me. There was a multi-level marketing guy talking with a new recruit. She seemed very sold on the health products for her personal consumption.  I noticed though, every time he asked about talking with other people,  she had reasons why that person wasn’t a good candidate for the supplies. He seemed patient, knowledgeable and committed.

Closer to five o’clock things picked up. A large gentleman came in and saw a buddy in line. He began to excitedly tell the smaller man how he had sold a car, his fourth. I wasn’t sure if he worked at a dealership or was some sort of a collector.

A woman walking up to order was called out to by a leather clad man seated near me. She turned, hearing her name and greeted him. He asked her professional help on a land deal he was in the middle of.

Then two adult females and two bouncy children came and sat in my other three chairs. They carried on their mundane conversation about children’s sports schedules and keeping up. Sprinkled in was admonishment to the little boy not to push the table into my shin or knock my cup over. Eventually they shuffled off to Karate class, leaving half a table of crumbs.

I learned that the local Starbucks is something like a very comfortable, small office building. Drinking coffee was secondary for just about everyone there. Business was being conducted between friends. Networking was being done between  acquaintances.  Like the receptionist in the office lobby, the baristas welcomed the workers in and sent them on their way with a smile.

I’m thinking about leasing some office space.

My first book excerpt (Whaaa, it needed a title!)

Gosh, it’s been almost a month since I’ve written for you. And what have I been doing while away from you? Pecking away with fury on my computer, iPad and leaving notes for myself on my iPhone. I also have finished 4 pieces of art. So below I’ve included an excerpt from the book.  (If you need a little more background on my mission, please read earlier blogs.) Read it through and let me know what you think. You can be honest, I can take it.

———————————————

When I first went out on short-term disability, I was seeing my therapist and medical doctor every week. The disability company said they would like reports after every visit. The doctors complied. The first couple months of my disability I was simply miserable. I made no attempt to hide that from my doctors. After about three months, I was feeling a bit better and wanted to see if I could go back to work, even if it was only part-time.  I think at that point I still didn’t recognize how ill I was and that my healing was on its own timetable, not mine. Neither of my doctors was excited about my decision to return, but they signed off on it.

Email Hell I quickly learned it was too soon.  I was extremely fatigued and at the same time completely restless. I sat at my desk, paralyzed by the ridiculous number of emails in my in-box. I went to meetings and sucked in my yarns while I tried to look interested. I didn’t feel like checking on my consultants’ work for quality purposes, or meeting with them to inspire.   My greatest fear was I’d have to take a supervisor call and not only would I not remember how to help the client, but I really wouldn’t be motivated to figure it out. Apparently my team had been warned to go easy on me, or they could see the tired apathy in my face. They continued to function like a well-trained crew of a battleship who had lost their captain in war. After about two weeks, I went back to full-time disability.

The challenge I began to have with being on disability was, how do I get well when every week or two weeks I have to prove I’m still sick? I felt stymied by the contradiction. I left my appointments feeling hopeful but confused. Was I really progressing or did the list of irregularities the doctors could come up with mean I was not? In my mind I had to separate my getting well from my going back to my job. I couldn’t worry so much about proving my continued illness in order to keep the disability check coming and my job waiting. I had to focus all my energies on getting well.

The ongoing battle with the disability company for more information from my doctors and my desire to keep as much of my situation as private as possible finally came to a head. I knew I wasn’t ready to return to full-time work and I wasn’t sure that even if I could, I wanted to return to the stress of my old job. I decided to resign. Again my doctors were not enthusiastic about my decision. I gave notice, barely made it to my desk those two weeks and then quietly faded away.

————————————————

That’s it for now. I’m waiting to hear from you. You also can email me your thoughts at myblueisblue@yahoo.com