Papers Please

It’s been a while since I was an installer/trainer/troubleshooter for my company. Thank, God! Gone are the days of getting up at 3am every Monday, flying to a client site somewhere between Hawaii and Maine, working a week, then getting home late Friday night (more like early Saturday morning).

Well, this past week I had ocassion to make one of those week-long trips (albeit to train at HQ in Texas, not at a client site).

So, I dug out all the old routines: separate shaving kit, so as not to forget a toothbrush or a comb; packing and putting the luggage next to the door, so as not to forget to bring it (my brain is not 100% that early); yadda, yadda, yadda.

One of the routines was to use terminal top parking at the airport and zip down to the gate. I never had to show up earlier than 30 minutes before a flight. Orlando closed down terminal top parking after September 11 as a security risk (something about having a bunch of cars parked right on top of the main terminal building made them nervous). Recently, though, it had been reopened. I thought everything was back to normal. So, I drove up to the parking entrance.

You would have thought I was trying to get into the Pentagon!

I had to stop, turn off the engine, open the hood and the trunk…and all four doors…and have the car scanned for bombs underneath. When I was finally allowed to pass, I entered the usually packed parking area to find a ghost town. It was spooky.

It’s not like I am offended or upset by the security measures. I know there needs to be some way to stop a whacko from driving a car bomb onto the top of a busy airport. But I lament the loss of something…I can’t put my finger on it…not convenience (God, I hope I’m not whining about that!)…just some small measure of freedom or normalcy, I guess….In any case, I probably won’t use terminal top parking anymore.

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