Being the SSSS Girl

Booking a flight less than 24 hours prior to departure, one-way gets you an intimate meeting with TSA officials. My work schedule had me in Key West for one night then returning to Tallahassee. Things changed and I now needed to fly between Key West and Miami, eventually returning to Tally later in the week.

Upon checking in at the Key West airport (don't know if it's international, I can tell you it's SMALL), I was told that I would have to watch as my check-in luggage was searched. "OK," I thought. So, I watched as the TSA man searched my bag, rubbing little white sheets of paper inside the pockets and sticking it in some sort of machine. While he waited for the results, he tossed his wand, like a baton. Don't know if that was for my entertainment or his.

After thoroughly molesting my bag, he tucked in the TSA sheet that supposedly explains why my bag had to be hand checked and offered hints on how to pack to avoid future hand searches - none of which said, "don't book a one-way ticket last minute."

Greeted by the friendly TSA officials at security, one of them calls out, "we got an SSSS Girl coming through." As I discovered, SSSS does not stand for: Sassy, Spectacular, Smashing and Silly. I'd rather be an "It Girl" than an "SSSS Girl," but at least I was something.

One official thoroughly examines my boarding pass, comparing it to my drivers license (which, contains a photo of me from 10 years ago, donning puffy hair and glasses) and me. She hands it to me and I step two feet to be greeted by another official who scrutinized my boarding pass, drivers license then me.

Well versed in the drill of TSA security, all of my possessions are placed on the belt, including my shoes, sunglasses and hair clips. I pass through to the other side, have my boarding pass, drivers license and me compared, again, and am told to take a seat while I watch my carry-on luggage being molested (half-assed, I must say). A female TSA agent is needed to search me and I chime in with my two cents that I don't mind having the tan, 20-something, with a secret tattoo peeping from his sleeve pat me down. All this earned me were icy glares and more time in the "penalty box."

Eventually, an agent comes over and I ask what an SSSS Girl is. She says, "oh, it's special people, like celebrities, VIPs..." I finish her sentence: "and people who book one-way flights last minute."

Upon realizing I was not hiding any explosives, weapons or lighters on body, I was free to go with a story to tell.


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