Art

Traveler’s Travails

The last few times I’ve flown, the TSA has been peculiarly interested in my hair. I normally wear it twisted up in a bun and secured with a clip or hairsticks. I actually asked about the hairsticks one time, as they are hardened teak, sharp, and could readily become a weapon. I was told they are perfectly fine, which just tells me they aren’t really interested in weapons, even if they will take nail clippers away from people. But the interest in my hair meant it was groped every time I

pentablet
Little man playing with my pentablet and laptop.

went through security.

Leaving Dayton, I took my clip out, as it has a metal spring, and sent it through the x-ray, thinking that would keep them from feeling up my tresses. Nope… even loose, they had to pet the hair. Sigh…

This trip, because of how I was doing it, involved no less than three pass-throughs of security. The last two, the TSA has discovered something new to be fascinated with. My pentablet. In Oregon, I showed it off and explained how it worked to a crowd of five or six agents, who gathered around for my impromptu lecture on digital art and its creation. I handed out postcards with my book covers on them to a couple who were really interested. I was the only person going through security at that small airport at the time, which might explain it, but…

Just now, walking though security, I went through it again, with a smaller audience of four agents and a little old lady who was fascinated. Evidently the large tablet I’m carrying is something they just haven’t seen before. It’s a relatively cheap knock-off, I wouldn’t be traveling with an expensive wacom device. I’d carried it to show my kids, and my sister, thinking that it would be a good way to get my kids to make me some mess-free art. Johann obliged, the girls weren’t interested (to be fair, we didn’t spend much time in the hotel, for reasons I’ll get into tomorrow).

So… if you are an artist traveling with a pentablet in your carry-on, be prepared to pull it out and explain to the TSA what it is. I guess it shows up very oddly on the x-ray machine, they wouldn’t tell me details.

scribble drawing
Little Man’s Snoopy picture, done with Paint on my pentablet.

0 thoughts on “Traveler’s Travails

  1. If it weren’t for the fact that the TSA are the only people in America who can be that creepy and intrusive and rude without suffering penalties for it (unemployment, lawsuits, beatings, pepper spray, prison…whatever), you’d probably have a lot more experience with people fondling your hair. The requirement that normal, non-TSA humans past toddler-hood and not in an intimate relationship with the party in question refrain from _acting on_ such impulses undoubtedly conceals the degree to which _feeling_ them is common.

    Make no mistake…on balance, this is a good thing. But the price of civilization is sometimes a certain amount of distortion in our knowledge, like this. 🙂

  2. I had to explain to a Boston TSA agent (in triplicate) what a voice recorder is. He swore he’d never seen one before. I have no idea what he thought it “really” was.

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