Remember the good old days when all of us baby boomers were kids?!? There’s a lot of little things that irritate us today that we didn’t have to cope with back then, and close to the top of the list is, the TSA. Well, that’s all changed now, which still doesn’t seem like such a big deal unless… as boomer Jean Blanchard found when she was trying to fly home to Eugene, Oregon… we can’t prove to the TSA who we are.
How the hell was I going to get out of Burbank with absolutely no proof who I was? I stared down the roadway of Bob Hope Airport where, after a three-hour freeway drive, my son Louis had dropped my sister Susan and me off.
Then, I stared at the stern-faced female TSA officer. Heart pounding, palms sweaty, I spilled my story.
Having baby boomer bladders, our first stop upon arrival was the Women’s Room. In the stall I realized I left my purse in the car. Heart racing, I yelled to Susan, snatched my backpack, and sped outside. But Louis was long gone.
Sweating profusely from 90-degree heat and 100-degree panic, I returned to the restroom. Susan texted Louis. No response. We waited in front of the terminal for him to return.
“What’s our next move?” Susan asked, checking for the hundredth time for a text.
We both knew. TSA.
“Anything with your name and address on it?” the agent asked. “Credit card?”
“Nothing but my boarding pass,” I said. “All my identification is traveling down the highway without me.”
“Happens twice a day here,” the agent said.
At the security gate, she approached her supervisor, a bald boomer who looked ready to retire. He motioned me over. “Have your sister go through security. She can wait over there while we clear you.”
Reluctantly Susan followed orders, while I filled out the top half of a form with my name and address, then signed & dated.
Worst thing was, this wasn’t the first time I’d left my purse in Louis’s car before departing for home. Last time was at the train station. He had to run back to the car for my purse while the conductor held the train from leaving.
After several minutes the TSA supervisor, phone to his ear, said, “I’ve got a few questions.” He listened to whoever was on the other end of the phone, then asked, “Where was your Social Security card issued?”
Easy. I’d gotten my card in high school. I named the state.
“Last four digits of your phone number?” Somewhat harder. I rattled off my entire phone number including the area code.
“Name and address of a neighbor or friend living in your area?”
Without my address book, that was wending its way north, I couldn’t remember the street number of my friend’s house. Which neighbor could I use? The guy in the next house had served jail time but… ok, just go for it. I gave my neighbor’s name and address.
A long pause followed. I glanced at Susan who stood on the other side of security. She nodded and smiled, reassuring me that she was watching what was happening. The TSA supervisor listened to the voice at TSA central, then asked one final question.
Apparently, my answer satisfied. The supervisor waved me over to the x-ray scanner.
Who knew it was possible to get through TSA security with no proof of who you are? Apparently, people do it all the time. Twice a day in Burbank.