A new insidious danger has entered my world. While traveling as often as I do has always had its annoyances, large and small (thankfully mostly small), it is about to get much, much worse.
Because now I'm going to be sexually assaulted at the airport twice a week, on average.
We are being given a choice: Have naked photos taken or be felt up. I am sorry, but I am a model and even I haven't done full nude shots - which are worth a pretty penny, FYI - so what makes these crazy people think I'd do it for free? For some false sense of national security which is actually a joke and nothing more than a means to put some money in the pockets of the GE board of directors?
And the alternative, of being felt up? There is a very short list of people allowed to touch the flower of my womanhood:
1. My doctor
2. Special Man Friend
3. Mike Rowe
(Not necessarily in that order.)
If any of this actually did anything to make airline travel safer perhaps I might have a slightly different opinion (although I doubt it). But the fact is, it doesn't. Israeli security officials alternately think we're pathetic or just plain stupid. Do you know what the starting salary for a TSA agent is? $17,083. Do you know what kind of person accepts a job that pays so little? Someone who is desperate, with a lack of education, experience and/or hope. Is that the kind of person you want feeling up your daughter, or trust looking at nude photos of her?
See, there's this thing called a cell phone camera. And despite the TSA's assurance that the nudie pics will be immediately destroyed (which I also do not believe because that would be destroying evidence in case of an actual attempted attack) it is beyond simple for some pervy agent to snap cell phone pics of the video screen. I really don't care if he doesn't know my identity - that is still MY body. I have enough trouble trying to stop pervs from taking photos of my lady parts at auto shows, and now I have to deal with it at the airport too?
I started writing this really long diatribe about this issue, but it would probably just attract trolls screaming about 9/11 and false patriotism. Instead, I invite those people to take ten minutes and think critically about the issue, do a little independent research and remove the emotion.
By the way, when I flew earlier this week I nearly had a panic attack when I saw one of the machines set up at security. Nearly everyone was trying to avoid that line, but some people were going through voluntarily. I would've loved to have done mini interviews with them afterwards to ask why, but since airports are now practically Gestapo states that probably wouldn't have gone over well. Anyway, because hardly anyone wanted to go through it they started pulling people out of my line to go through, supposedly in an attempt to speed up the line. I started to freak out, because I knew I would refuse and I knew it would get messy and really, I don't want that. I'm not a criminal, I'm not a terrorist, I truly, deeply love my country and I truly, deeply love my privacy and dignity.
Luckily the woman ahead of me had pins in her knees and they sent her through it, so I got to go through the metal detector while she was in there. I may have to switch up my double vodka tonic airport ritual to before going through security rather than after.
So the moral of this story is that until Mike Rowe takes a dirty job at the TSA, you're not touching my junk.
The 2011 model auto show season is nigh and I must prepare myself for the onslaught of germs and filth brought forth by the teeming masses I encounter daily.
I truly have no idea how I have not yet contracted hepatitis, leprosy, flesh eating disease, TB, ebola, Coxsackie virus and diptheria. (Notice I said and, not or, because I am flabbergasted that no one has come down with all of them at once at the New York show - particularly with all the barefoot freaks and whatnot.)
At the height of the season I could be in six airports and two hotels in a week's time. That's a lot of exposure to utter grodiness. That's a lot of unwashed hands, coughs and sneezes into my hair and doorknob touching. Plus a new enemy has been thrown into the mix this year: bed bugs.
While I am still formulating my bedbug plan (I'm taking suggestions, please), for all other things I carry my travel/hotel survival kit.
For the airport:
- Always wear socks to the airport so you don't have to stand at security in bare feet and walk on that gross floor and get foot fungus from the other people who forgot socks. This might be a no brainer for dudes, but ladies have cute shoes that we often don't wear socks with, so I have to make a concerted effort to remember this one.
- My very own travel pillow/blanket. Never, ever, ever use the airline's stuff, even if they sell it to you, especially if it's free. Do you honestly think they ever wash those things? Do you want to know what happens under those blankets in redeyes?
- Cough drops to shovel into the mouths of anyone near me who is coughing their nastiness all over the plane.
For the hotel:
(I want to specify that I am fortunate to be put up in very nice hotels. I do this stuff anyway.)
- Antibacterial wet wipes. The minute I get in my room, before I touch anything I whip these out and wipe down every surface my hands are going to touch. Door knobs, cabinet pulls, curtain rods, light switches, bedside lights, the phone, the remote (what do guys reach for immediately after whacking off?), faucet handles, toilet handle, shower handle, closet door pulls, everything. This also gives me a great opportunity to see if anything is wrong with the room that would make me want to switch before I unpack.
- Slippers. I never walk around on hotel rugs barefoot if I can help it. Do you think they are ever shampooed unless someone is murdered in there in a particularly bloody fashion? They are not. There is all kinds of nastiness going on in those carpets. See airline blankets, remote control.
- Remove the bedspread and leave it in the furthest corner of the room that I won't go anywhere near. Do you ever see bedspreads on the maid's cart when you pass her in the hall? No. You only see sheets. That's because they only change the sheets. God only knows when the last time that bedspread was washed.
- Place the privacy sign on the door and don't remove it for my entire stay. When I need new towels I call down and request them. I leave the garbage pail and room service tray outside the door in the morning. I do not want a stranger in my room going through my stuff. It's not like the hotel cleaning staff is licensed, bonded and insured. I know too many people who have had things mysteriously go missing from their rooms, even in really nice hotels. I also know people who have come back to wet toothbrushes, misplaced panties and strange hair in strange places.
- Emergen-C. I start and end the day with it.
- But I never, ever, ever drink it or anything else from the glasses in the room. I saw Dirty Hotel Secrets Exposed on TV. Not happening. I either hoard the restaurant glasses brought up from room service or stick to the shrink-wrapped plastic coffee cups.
- And don't use the in-room coffee maker, either. Not ever cleaned ever.
- Never, ever, ever take a bath. Ugh. Just the thought makes me shudder. Showers only. I have not yet resorted to shower shoes like in college.
At the show:
- It's all about the hand sanitizer, once an hour or upon being touched by someone particularly smelly, or by someone I just saw come out of the bathroom, blow their nose, cough into their hand instead of doing the vampire cough, etc.
- More Emergen-C.
- Try really, really hard not to shake hands with anyone. There's just too many people. I'd rather a gentle touch on the arm of my suit jacket, please. Gentle. Not lingering. Don't be a creeper.
I am not a germaphobe -- I fully abide by the five second rule under reasonable circumstances. But I do not get paid sick days. If I get sick in the middle of the show, I can either suck it up, go to work and infect all my coworkers and visitors while being nearly incapacitated by illness, or I can lay shivering and miserable in my hotel room - probably being eaten by bedbugs - and miss out on a lot of money. Neither of these is a very appealing option.
What's really funny is that I'm not a clean freak at home. Far from it. I wait until the garbage smells to take it out. I have sour cream in the fridge that expired in August. My jack-o-lantern's face has caved in and I'm waiting for Special Man Friend to take care of it for me. Let's not even get into the laundry situation. But those are MY germs.
No offense dude, but I'll stick to mine.
PS - Is there any way to deal with bedbugs other than setting the bed on fire? While that may be effective, that still leaves me with nothing soft upon which to sleep.
Are you an auto show model, HIN girl or product specialist?
Do you have an auto show story? Tell me about your funniest experience, the most touching, the biggest jerk or the worst pickup line you've had laid on you. Email me at DYCWTC@gmail.com and I'll share it with my readers, keeping you anonymous.