A Year In Mill Valley

What should have been the start of a nice vacation turns into a TSA nightmare

We’re off to the Cape for a couple of weeks. Last year’s trip was heavenly, but the weather has been not so good this year so we’re crossing our fingers that we don’t have to sing rain rain go away come again another day for two weeks.
Caught a limo to the airport. Checked in. All is going great. Then we get in line at the checkpoint, and things start to go downhill.
There’s a line, not that long, but it isn’t moving. Along comes a TSA gal shouting about don’t slow down the line by having drinks in your bags. Fair enough, but the slowness isn’t due to problems with drinks in bags it’s due to a new ProVision scanning machine they’re testing.
At the entrance there’s a sign with an outline of a man with his hands up and elbows out. No explanation of what it is. No explanation of the technology. No explanation of what it does or what the agent sees. Does it see through clothing? Is it safe?
I am personally unwilling to be anyone’s experimental subject so I say that I’m unwilling to go through the machine. Interestingly this is allowed but there’s no notice of this anywhere. We are lead through the metal detector and penned in a waiting area to be frisked.
Before I continue let me note a couple of things. First they are sending about half the people through the metal detector without being frisked on the other side. Second going through this scanner takes a long time. Third they are frisking every single person coming through the scanner. Looking at this all I can think is that 1) they’re testing a new machine, 2) they’re using us as guinea pigs, and most importantly 3) they’re looking to see how sheep-like the public is. How many people will question what they’re doing, how many people will wonder if it’s safe, and how many people will say enough is enough? What’s next asking people to strip?
So we’re waiting in this pen and it’s going on 3-4 minutes and there are a lot of people behind us (our stuff is on the conveyor and no one can get their stuff without ours out of the way first). So I ask a TSA guy – who is doing nothing – when we’ll be frisked and he shrugs something about no one available. So I ask for a supervisor who comes over and says they’ll get to it when they have time. So I say in a loud voice that there are a lot of people waiting and that the backups are due to their lack of procedures and unnecessary friskings and maybe they should change their procedures and get rid of this new machine. I am fuming.
Finally a nice young guy comes over and frisks us and we’re on our way. Almost.
The supervisor comes over and asks if I’d like to make a formal complaint and I say yes. He asked for my boarding card – which he doesn’t need to hand me a complaint card – and I can see where this is going. Here’s my guess…next time I fly I’ll be on a list for extra security checks because this guy just feels like it. I’ll let you know.
That said, we’re on descent into Boston and I’m looking forward to sailing tomorrow morning.

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