Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Airport Adventures

(Originally posted on Monday, August 6, 2007 by Tim)

Working your way through the airport is a different experience with a toddler. There?s a lot of extra baggage to be carried and he really isn?t interested in helping with it. There?s the diaper bag that is stuffed until the seams stretch with diapers and wipes and food and toys and books and clothes and baby utensils. There?s the stroller that is great for carrying the extra luggage through the airport when the baby isn?t in it. Finally, there?s the car seat that is just heavy and unwieldy to carry. I?m seriously considering hiring a Sherpa for our next airport adventure.

The best part of the toddler airport adventure is getting through security. I?ve been sending Cathy through with the baby and then I proceed to dismantle the stack of things I?ve heaped on top of the stroller. Shoes go in one tray, the computer in another, and the camera in a third. My backpack (containing the work I never even attempted) goes on the conveyer followed by the car seat, followed by the folded up stroller. Each time the stroller or car seat are disturbed, a shower of Cheerios and desiccated peas shower the floor leaving a trail through the security station that even Hansel and Gretal could follow.

I saw an interesting device in the Rochester Airport today. It was apparently a replacement for the metal detectors that are present in most airports. I think they were trying it out because they had the normal metal detectors and then they were herding a small line of business travelers through this thing. It was like the metal detectors, only longer and thicker. The TSA agents would prod a meticulously dressed salesman into and tell him to stand still. The device would then blow air at him (complete with air compressor noises) lifting up parts of his sport coat and ruffling his pants against his legs. When I first saw it, I burst out laughing. I couple of businessmen looked at me uncomfortably when I did this. Apparently, they thought I might draw attention to them and they would be subjected to the wind tunnel treatment.

I have a guess for what the machine is for. I expect the air is supposed to blow any traces of explosives off of the clothes of the suspected terrorist. The some of the air around the traveler is then collected and run through a mass spec. If compounds with masses common to explosives are detected, then the TSA folks know who to tackle. I thought about asking one of the TSA folks what the machine was for but I decided against it. First, they seemed to be on high alert in Rochester. Second, I really wanted to know if my idea was correct and I doubt he would have known what a mass spectrometer was. Finally, I slipped on a paste of Cheerios and squashed peas and by the time I recovered my balance, the opportunity had passed.

Today?s picture is of Grandpa Johann entertaining Dalton while we were waiting in the airport. Dalton had made a beeline for the escalator. I have it on good authority that those things eat toes so we wouldn?t let him stand on it. However, he seemed to be content to ride it up and down repeatedly in the arms of Grandpa.

No comments:

Post a Comment