I usually take my camera with me on the road. I like taking pictures, and having a camera helps to keep me alert for interesting photo opportunities.
Last night, I was struck by the appearance of the lighted elevator units going up and down in the cavernous atrium of the Houston Hyatt Regency. With the interior lighting set at twilight levels, the elevator banks looked like a kind of gigantic video game — so I took a picture.
As I was snapping a photo my dinner guest, the Opera Buff, arrived and made some gibe about my tourist tendencies. We laughed, but she was absolutely right. I’m in touch with my inner tourist, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
When I printed out my boarding pass yesterday, I noticed a new legend at the top that indicated I had been “pre-checked” by the Transportation Security Administration.
I didn’t know what it meant, so when I got to the airport I got in the standard line to show my boarding pass and driver’s license. The TSA officer who checked me explained that the “pre-check” program meant I didn’t need to wait in the normal line and could go through security without removing my shoes, belt, bag of toothpaste, and laptop. He gave me a pre-printed card that explains the program, which also is described here. It appears that, because I’m a frequent traveler, the TSA thinks they have sufficient information about me to waive certain of the security protocols.
So, I dropped my keys, cellphone, and other electronic gizmos in the plastic bin and put it on the conveyor belt and went through the scanner belt, shoes, suit coat, and all. It was a whiff of the heady old days, before the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber and other would-be terrorists added new rules and new steps to the security process.
Going through security took about two minutes. I enjoyed not having to partially disrobe, and I particular appreciated not having to hurriedly belt up, don shoes, fish out keys, and reinsert laptop in the scrum of passengers who’ve passed through the scanner, as bag after bin after bag come slamming off the conveyor.
I’m all for the pre-check program.