2nd Feb 2007 - Airport Security Nazi
"Do you have a laptop sir" the question was asked by a Chinese security guard standing by the entrance to the baggage scanner at Beijing Airport. He, like the rest of the many security guards was dressed in a smart navy blue uniform. On his sleeve was a shield rather like American sheriffs have on their uniforms and there were two white stripes below the shield. I nodded in agreement and reached into my laptop bag, took the laptop and placed it in the red plastic basket he was offering me.
"Anything in your pockets Sir" I nodded the negative as I had already put my mobile phone in my laptop bag before
reaching the check point.
"Jacket Sir", the request to remove the coat to put through the scanner was not that unusual. I was wearing a big green and white wind cheater to ward off the freezing Beijing winter winds. I slipped my jacket off and put it in the second plastic tray he offered me.
I was now standing in a sleeveless dark blue jerkin and a long-sleeved blue denim shirt. I had taken to travelling in the jerkin as it gave me lots of pockets to put junk in and it had zip up pockets where I could safely put my wallet and other valuable items.
I stepped through the people scanner, and the damn thing went off. I couldn't think what I might have on me that was metal. I patted myself down and went through my pockets. I could not find anything that was in the slightest bit metal.
A very attractive young Chinese lady was checking people with the hand wand. She looked particularly stunning in her neatly pressed blue uniform and as I went through, she was busy with another passenger. Her smile was extremely becoming as she chatted to her current client. I thought to myself she can pat me down any time. She appeared to have taken no notice of the indiscreet beep I had made coming through the scanner.
I thought that it actually might not have been me that beeped and it could have been from the scanner next door. I moved to pick up my bag. My cutie security guard looked at me directly and with the nicest of smiles said. "Wait there please."
How could a man refuse, if the lady wanted me to wait for her I was going to wait, I had nothing in my pockets, a self check had already proved that and I was happy to have her move her hands all over me and pat me down so she could prove it to herself.
She finished with the passenger she had been working on and let them proceed. At the same time she politely invited me to step up onto the little wooden podium she used to perform her wand waving ritual. I complied with pleasure.
She waved her wand down my right side and found something, it was my wallet. It had no metal in it, I knew that, just Chinese money and every credit card and identity plastic card I owned, but it sent the hand wand alarm off anyway. She took the wallet away from me. I didnít pay attention to what she did with it as she scanned the same place immediately and her scanner went beep again. I put my hand in my pocket found a plastic pen. Strange, I thought, not a metal object but I took it out of my pocket and held it.
She scanned the same place again and found a comb, I was beginning to feel a little agitated, she was still smiling and she was just as pretty but I was getting a little annoyed with her.
After having a clean sweep of my right side, she went to the left side with her scanner and instantly found my bottle of heart pills. She scanned again and found paper and junk in my pocket. Paper and junk, I was getting very annoyed now. Who builds a scanner that finds paper receipts from the cab you just took to the airport? Into my hand they went with the now growing list of items that had been buried in my jerkin. Each time she scanned me she found something and I had to take the stuff out of my pocket, put it into my now overloaded hand and then raise the hand back in the air. I had a fist full of shit and the crowd behind me was growing as that damn people scanner kept going beep every time some-one went through it.
She found my passport, my air ticket, some tissues I had used and stuffed back in my pocket and she just kept on going. She scanned my back, patted down my legs, my hips and now I was feeling like some sort of terrorist sent there to blow up the airport with four snotted tissues. I was getting mad at the bitch and she scanned yet again, this time thankfully I was clean.
I was directed to pick up my junk, I went to get my wallet and it wasn't there. I tried to think what I had done with it. I started to panic. I knew I had taken it out of my pocket but I wasn't sure if I had given it to the security officer or what. Could someone have stolen it while I was standing there? I asked the guy operating the scanner conveyor belt where my wallet was.
"Wait sir" he said with a perfect Chinese smile.
"Wait for f*****g what? I have lost my wallet and that bitch took it where is it?" I was aware that my distinct Australian vernacular was probably wasted on this Chinese speaking gentleman.
He said "Wait sir."
"Wait for what! Wait for who! Why am I waiting?" I was arguing with myself as I was sure he didn't understand a word I was saying.
I was agitated and I was raising myself up and down on the balls of my feet staring at all of the security people. I was frustrated nobody was listening to me, my wallet was gone, some bastard had taken my wallet and I wanted to yell it out loud. I just didn't think anybody cared or was listening and if they were they didn't understand my language.
"Pack your laptop" I was told by the security guard with a heavy Chinese accent. I had nothing else to do and I wasn't moving without my wallet so I did as he said.
When I had finished packing my laptop I asked the guy again like a schoolboy who has just successfully completed a task the teacher had given him, "Please mister security man I have finished packing my lap top can you now take the f*****g time to help me find my f*****g wallet?"
Without an answer there was nothing else I could do. I picked up my jacket and went through the pockets to see if I could find my wallet. I reasoned I did not even have my jacket when I was frisked by Mrs Gestapo over there. I put the jacket on the conveyor belt earlier and had gone in the opposite direction. Trying to hide my frustration I scurried through the jacket pockets with some sort of fantasy idea that the said wallet might magically appear. No such luck.
I faced the security guy again and said "Help me find my wallet" I was a broken man and near tears.
He smiled at me and reaching into the middle of the scanning machine he pulled out a red plastic tray. Inside it was a black leather object looking exactly like my wallet spilling out cards and Chinese money.
He handed the wallet to me and with a big grin he said "Thank you for you co-operation sir", he was such a nice gentleman.
I picked up my laptop bag, shoved my wallet deep in my jerkin pocket and zipped it up. I nodded a thank you with a forced smile and turned to leave. Mrs Gestapo was still scanning people but she took the time to turn to me and smile and say "Thank you sir for your co-operation"
I think these two went to the same school, they had certainly read the same phrase book. I left them making beeps on some other poor bastard who was also pulling endless junk out of his pockets.