Are you scared of flying? If not, you should be.
You all know how I feel about leaving Georgia to come back to DC. Nothing new about that. Even though I knew I'd be coming again in just a few short weeks, I cried per usual when my mom dropped me off at the airport. If the tears weren't torture enough, I had to go through the humiliation of the full-body scan (you know some guy is totally getting off on that shit) and a subsequent left thigh groping. There was no "patting down" going on. It was full-on leg assault. I thought the whole point of going through the body scanner was avoiding the groping? Apparently it was a double deal that day. Couple that with a two-hour delay due to "mechanical problems" and an assigned seat in the very last row and having water spilled all over me...well, I was a total peach, as I'm sure you can imagine.
But see, all of this is to be expected. Flying is a miserable thing we put ourselves through to see our loved ones. If I didn't get paid to do it most of the time, I would avoid flying at all costs. I do it enough to know that these annoyances are to be expected, and when you manage to avoid them, it's nothing short of miraculous.
What I wasn't prepared for was what when I landed. I was waiting to be picked up, so I picked a quiet spot to camp out in. I was busying myself with important tasks like Gchat when an airport employee walked up to me. The guy was probably in his 60s. Nice grandfather type, or so I thought.
"Are you waiting to be picked up?" he asked.
"Yes, just coming back from being home with my family," I answered, thinking he was just being friendly.
"Well, I figured it was that or you were sitting in the time out chair."
Hmm, ok. Kind of weird, but I get it--I'm sitting alone. Old men like to relate to young women as if they're children. Infuriating, but true. I sort of laughed it off, hoping he'd go away but he continued
"People my age don't know what you're talking about when you say 'time out chair.' In my day, we just got spanked," he said.
Hmm, this is taking a weird turn. I laughed it off, this time a bit more uncomfortably, "Yeah, it's a new way of parenting for sure. Self-esteem and all that."
I really, really wanted him to fuck off. I wasn't even making eye contact at that point, trying to say, "Hey, get the hell away from me." But no, he continued. With more spanking talk. Like when he'd been spanked as a child--what the offenses were, etc. And then how he'd spanked his own children, like when his daughter had told her mother to shut up. This was an EXTENDED conversation--or, monologue I should say--and then it got even worse.
"If you'd done something like that, would you have been spanked?" he asked.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
"I was the sort of kid that hated getting in trouble. I never would have said that to my mom," I said. All true.
But he kept pushing the whole spanking thing. He found at least three ways to ask me about being spanked, each time I avoided the question. And in the end, I suppose frustrated with my evasion of the spanking talk, he just outright asked, "Were you spanked as a child?"
"Not really," I said, completely horrified and just wanting him to leave me alone. What I should have said was, "Look, you fucking sicko, this is NOT a normal conversation you have with a stranger. I'm sure you get off on this shit, so go post a craigslist ad or something, but leave me the fuck alone!"
Has the whole flying industry become sexualized? Anti-terrorism, my ass! That whole experience was completely terrorizing. Put this experience on the list of "why I want to live close to my family."