“Madam, step out to the right, go back and try again. Earrings out.”
“Madam, step out to the right, go back and try again. Take out your passport from your pocket.”
“Madam, step out to the right, go back and try once again…”
… and again and again. I went back and forth the security check no less than eight times when the serious-faced, tall and masculine man warned me:
‘Madam, you will be randomly selected.’
Not knowing what it means – and even if I would have known, it simply wouldn’t change a thing – I stepped out to the right and tried it again. By this time, I felt very diligent and somewhat important. Or rather outstanding. I don’t recall wearing anything more any more than a plain jeans and a T-shirt. I got red light once again.
My serious-faced pal – though this friendship was rather one-sided – turned red. And as punishment towards me, as someone not listening to his pressing warnings, directed me to the left this time and stigmatized me right after that: “You are randomly selected, wait here.”
At this moment, my VIP treatment turned into the shadows of worry. This whole scene setting just got worse when two similarly well-structured bodies arrived and led me towards a separated area with a big, and gray machine. To my biggest surprise, and perhaps naivety, I realized that nobody likes jokes and smiles around this area. So I tried the impossible: I tried to be serious. It was pretty difficult to imagine myself as the next breaking news on CNN saying: ‘Folks, we needed to close JFK because of a suspicious the lady, who just could not pass the security.’ I wanted to laugh. Or at least smile. But they did not let me.
My bodyguards were hoping for a better story, it seemed. They placed my fingers in ink and then took over the control over my hand and placed it into a machine. I was between excitement, to see all these behind-the-scenes of security and worry that I might break the national news after all.
Do you know the feeling when you know that you hadn’t done anything, yet they look at you as you did, so you start questioning yourself? Do I have drugs on me? God, Virag, you don’t even know what drugs are. Did I pack my back? No, Virag, you asked your neighbor because you wanted to grab another doughnut. Do I look suspicious because I am suspicious? Yes, you were suspiciously happy.
While I was elaborating my options and making my self-check without showing a blink to the outer world, I was asked to leave.
That’s it? I asked. They gave me another look. (Virag just get the hell out of there already).
Three years later I am still a randomly selected woman. I either need to undress or simply introduce the purpose of my visit in an area. By now I am already waiting for the moment, and I am volunteering to be randomly selected. (No, this thing doesn’t work like that).
This is my 4th time to New York, and I passed all security with an A+ grade. I was smooth and invisible, like Casper. Sipping the next from my over-gingered carrot juice by the gate – with a hope that I would get energized – a gently deep voice starts listing names. As he was saying: ‘If you hear your name, please come here for an additional security check’. I was deep in my writings and thoughts, but I could listen to the giggling around me as the deep voice struggled to pronounce the Akhammed Mojali, Burzsuja types of names. We smiled, yet we all knew deep inside that the names are Arabs or Africans. We are just damn filled with prejudice. Then my friend started to spell the names for the sake of simplicity (and I guess no one could show up since nobody understood a word of what he was saying). So he goes on as G-U-L-Y-A-S.
Fuck. This is me. But me? I mean, really?
But me? I mean, really?
Yes, really. I went to the desk along with my Arab-Africano fellows and, of course, some pale ones like me. I reported that I heard my name and that I am sure it’s a mistake (no, I did not say this), and I am here. “Step to the left and wait in the line. Once they check you, you can’t leave the area anymore”. How re-assuring. These guys are serious I didn’t need much to get that part. But I was still missing a crucial part from the equation: Why on Earth am I standing in this line?
Needless to make things more exciting than they actually were, I was once again randomly selected. Nothing matters for these guys: they were not impressed by the fact that I passed all the security gates without any problems. Instead of giving me a thumbs up, they randomly invited me to the separated area once again. No, guys, this is not cool.
“Open your bags, please.” (what if I don’t – asked my braver inner self). But, of course, I opened. All of them. I took off my shoes. Then took off my jewelry. (Though there was no gate to pass anymore just gazing eyes and touching hands). Then I let a woman touch my body from up to toe. And also backward.
“Ouch” – cries out the young, once again provokingly serious man, who was checking my luggage. I was holding myself not to get into trouble and burst out laughing but here is the picture for you: Tall, handsome, well-structured guy in front of you. Yes, the kind you would turn after on a busy day walking from home to work. All of his moves are controlled and somewhat scary (once again the questions attack me: he looks at me as suspicious someone, so perhaps I am suspicious). Anyways, the guy in front of you is the next Prince charm. I hope you see him. Then suddenly his voice changes: it shifts two accords towards soprano and says: ‘ouch, ouch ouch.’
“I am sorry Sir, I could have warned you, but you were too fast.”
It was too late: he found my brand new folded Indian needle bed and as the tiny plastic needle stung his big, manly finger, Prince Charme turned into mommy’s little boy. As he cried out, we both knew: he just lost his reputation.
I was discharged.