Wednesday, April 13, 2016

human connections.

We got back last week from a short-notice trip to Richmond, VA, to see some friends who needed us.

Somewhere in there, I lost my driver's license: I tend to keep it in a pocket with my boarding pass, and it must have gotten caught in the boarding pass and fallen out, somewhere from San Francisco security to the rental car counter in Richmond. I passed through a half dozen different lost-and-found bailiwicks, and someone might mail it to me, but it's easier to get a new one.

You can fly without a photo ID, without too much hassle, at least if you're a white male in the South-- to their credit, it looked like there's a very strict process.
  1. They want something with your name on it, preferably also with a photo. They seemed to prefer a prescription medicine label to credit cards.
  2. They type your name into some very limited government computer. I had a scan of my previous driver's license, but they didn't want it.
  3. Your bags go through the X-ray, you go through the body scanner.
  4. You get a regular quick pat-down.
  5. You get a full "check the crevices with the back of the hand" pat-down.
  6. They examine every item in your bags and pockets.
This whole thing only took maybe 20-25 minutes, since there were no passengers in front of us.

It was blessedly dull, except for the conversation I had with the big guy doing the pat-down, starting with my new cargo pants (made by a "tactical" clothing company, because that's who makes quality cargo pants).
"These pants look really comfortable."
"They really are. I thought they were nylon when I bought them, but they're 4% spandex."
"Oh yeah, I thought they were some kind of stretchy material. Great if you're doing a lot of--"
"--sitting. Or moving around. Lots of pockets. The pockets have pockets."
"Are they 5.11?"
"No, they're Propper. Probably half the price of 5.11."
"And they've still got the look."
It's nice to keep these things casual. However, knowing different brands of tactical pants is a signal...
"Oh, is this a small first aid kit?"
"Yeah. Useful."
"Yeah, I keep a bag in my car,"--I know what comes next--"with a knife, water, anything you might need to survive. Called a bug-out bag."

[Clearly he's on the survivalist/anarchy end of the disaster-prep spectrum.]

"Yep. I keep all this stuff in my pockets..."
"My wife says, 'Why do you carry all this stuff around?'"
"And then she asks you if you have it. Mine does too."
"I carry it around so when you need a tool, there it is."
"I know, right?"
So, yannow. Virginia.

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