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TSA.

So I have complained about the TSA in the past. In all fairness, I have actually complained about the security measures that are enforced by the TSA, I don’t believe that I have actually called out the TSA or at least individual TSA officers themselves. For the most part, they folks that work for the TSA have been pretty nice. Tonight they proved that point even further.

On my way out of town on Friday, like every other airline passenger, I had to go through security measures at the airport before jumping that big bird into the sky. In the United States, this involves taking off your shoes and belts, anything that might be metal and there’s a whole bunch of other things that one had to do to get the green light to get onto an airplane. I have this rigmarole down to a science and for the most part it’s become pretty effortless for me. Friday was no exception. Except now I wear a FitBit One on my belt.

I took the FitBit off with my belt and left it on my belt. It went through the X-ray machine and came out the other side like it was suppose to. I gathered up my stuff and got myself back together. As I started walking towards my gate, I noticed I needed to tie my shoe. Because of my recent weight loss, I didn’t need to find a stool or bench to accomplish this, I simply kicked my leg up onto the ledge that runs about waist high along the hallway and tied my shoe. I then continued my way towards the gate.

Little did I know that my FitBit fell off my belt when I kicked my leg in the air.

When we landed at Dulles, I stopped at the bathroom and noticed that my FitBit was missing. I knew it wasn’t in the airplane, because I checked my 36-square inches of space on that plane and made sure I had everything. I must have lost it at security, even though I remembered putting it back on my belt. I was heartbroken. I’d had the FitBit for less than a month and it was already lost and I really liked it a lot, it was a good thing to have and it was a Christmas present from Jamie. I decided I would buy a new one when I got home.

On a lark, I stopped by the TSA team leader’s station after landing at our home airport tonight. I asked the supervisor if anyone had found a FitBit on Friday night around 6:00 p.m. She looked at me in a very odd fashion. I felt like I was outside of normal operating procedure. But then she smiled.

“Is it like a pedometer?”, she asked.

“Yes, it is. Real small. Like a flash drive.”

“I saw that the other night and we tagged it for lost and found. You know, no one ever picks their stuff up from lost and found. Yeah, we have it.”

She called the Operations Center over on the secret side of the airport and confirmed it was there. She had the officer at “Command” look for it and then verify that it was mine by trying to get the name to display. They couldn’t get my name to pop up on the screen but the timestamp on the lost and found tag was approximately the time that my flight left, so she gave me directions to get to the secret side of the airport. She was really friendly about the whole thing.

I made my way over to the secret side of the airport, following her directions to the letter. Having to go to the third floor of “command”, I came off the elevator where I was greeted by a TSA agent.

“I saw you coming on the cameras. Here’s that pedometer. Sign here please.”

Sure enough, it was my FitBit. I fired it up to make sure it worked and told him, “You walked 21 steps to get to me.” If he could tell me I was watched on cameras, I could tell him how many steps it took to find me. He smiled, we shook hands and I thanked him several times.

All in all, what I thought would be a bureaucratic mess at best turned out to be dang near effortless. I have to say that the TSA officers at Syracuse Hancock Airport were just as nice as nice could be, while still maintaining a dignified sense of professionalism. It made me realize that I might be too quick to judge others from a scant bit of evidence. I learned something tonight.

I also learned now to kick my heel up onto a shelf when I don’t need to.

Good job to the TSA.

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EWR.

So I have been sitting at EWR since shortly after noon. After being shuttled from terminal A to terminal C with a tour group headed from Kentucky to Israel (I didn’t question the specifics or intents), I found myself with plenty of time and decided to treat myself to a civilized, sit down lunch at a place called Gallagher’s. Taking a cue from Darrin Stephens and Larry Tate, I decided to have an adult beverage with my lunch. My beverage of choice was a short Yuengling. It went well with my steak salad.

This combination has made the afternoon go by rather quickly.

I have answered all of my outstanding email, wrote a few pages of code for a project I am working on (using my iPad!) and listened in as a man with a Sony Walkman cassette player listened to “Crush on You” by the Jets. He be jammin’.

EWR (or Newark Liberty International Airport) is not as busy as I have seen it in the past, probably due to the MLK Holiday today. The skies are gray and thankfully my flight in less than an hour of this writing is just over an hour in length.

I am feeling productive and relaxed at the same time. Perhaps my standard workday would be more enjoyable if accompanied by Yuengling and/or The Jets.

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UA 4548

I am sitting in seat 11A on United flight 4548 en route from Raleigh-Durham to Newark. I have a four hour layover in Newark and then I will be on my way home. I’ll probably write more during this layover. Now that I think about it, the layover and flight time is longer than if I landed at Newark and drove home. Oh well.

The flight attendant’s name is Courtney and she is quite pleasant. Initial impressions is that she enjoys her job. She is another one with “fierce” knee high boots. The flight attendant between Dulles and RDU on Friday featured Julie with her knee high boots. I’m not sure why I’m noticing these boots since I have zero interest in women’s footwear, but looking fierce is looking fierce regardless of sex, so there’s that.

The skies are clear for this flight. We don’t seem to be as high up ask would expect, maybe 20-21,000 feet. Oh my gosh how I love flying.

The other passengers are interesting to observe. Since today is a Federal holiday there’s not a lot of business folks traveling, at least from what I’ve seen, but there’s a lot of those that are casually dressed. I am dressed in a sport coat and tie and I am definitely enjoying a better customer service experience and I think it’s because I’m dressed this way. It could be because I have a stronger feeling of self-confidence when I dress this way. Whatever the reason, I am happy that I feel good and that I feel like I’m being treated well.

There is a mom and one of her sons seated across the aisle from me. The young man is well behaved. The mother does things like drop items in the aisle during take-off and eat nutri-grain bars but we can deal with that. The man behind her brought a greased soaked sack of McFat onto the flight that smelled extra pungent for the frivolity of all within a two mile radius of this flight, but we can deal with that with minimal personal irritability.

I’m wondering if this flight would normally pass over Washington, D.C. The reason I’m wondering this is because we’ve done several S banks and for some reason I’m equating this to avoiding flying over the Inauguration celebrations.

It’s time for refreshment! The favorite time of the flight for all. Especially if it helps the passenger behind me wash down his McFat.

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RDU Airport.

So I’m sitting at gate D3 for my return flight from the Raleigh-Durham area. This has been an off-the-grid weekend with a little bit of work and a little bit of play. I see more of these weekends in the future.