Yay! I have arrived in soggytown! It is, of course, Thanksgiving-time now, and i am home for break. I left Tuesday morning, and was proved to be utterly, totally, unquestionably harmless by the security at the airport.
I arrived at the airport quite early on the bus, and walked across the skybridge into the terminal. I went to one of those automated e-ticket check-in stands to get my boarding pass, but the machine told me that my ticket needed attention from a Northwest agent. I decided to simply check in at the gate. I went to the security checkpoint, which had a surprisingly nonexistent line, and began to be poked and prodded. First, i had to remove my laptop from my backpack, and place it on a special tray. I then put that and my backpack into the x-ray scanner, and proceeded to empty my pockets into one of the little pocket change baskets, which i also had to scan, rather than just pass around the metal detector, which i fortunately did not set off. However, they decided it was necessary to scan my backpack a second time. They were still not satisfied, and two checkpoint people conferred over the machine's screen. They then asked to inspect my camera. The inspector-man took my backpack over to an inspection table, and swabbed it with this strange white cloth disc about 5cm in diameter, which they then put in a ledge on a mysterious chrome machine. He took my camera, swabbed it, and then removed the lens cap and looked through the viewfinder to confirm that it actually was a camera. He then took my backpack back to the x-ray machine to be scanned a third time, then helped me carry everything to another table, where i put my backpack back together. I walked past the congregation of Military Police with assault rifles, and on to my gate to check in.
At the gate, i discovered that i had been "randomly selected" for an additional security screening, immediately prior to boarding. I went to Starbucks and got some apple cider to kill time, visited the toilets, and returned to the gate. I then submitted to the screening. Two very kind, courteous security people, who i think were Northwest employees, looked over me. A man thoroughly examined my backpack, while a woman ran the metal detector wand over me and patted me down. The man searching my backpack looked in every pocket, nook, and cranny. He opened my chopsticks case, and looked at the chopsticks in there (to which i believe he commented, "useful"). He peered at my power adapter. He had me take the lens cap off my camera, and looked through it. I asked if they wanted me to turn my laptop on, and they did, so i woke it up out of sleep, then closed it again. I was instructed to drink out of my water bottle. They made me open up my umbrella, to confirm that there was nothing inside, and they looked at it closely on both sides. Satisfied, they helped me put everything back in my backpack, and sent me onto the plane. (At least i got to board somewhat early.) So, now, i can say, with authority, that i am completely, utterly, totally, unquestionably harmless.
The flight was smooth and i arrived at PDX.
I then got out of the plane and went to the west end of the terminal to take the train home. The Red Line of the MAX light rail system had just opened, and i was very excited to ride it. On the train, i miraculously ran into Joyquality, who was flying home at roughly the same time, and her mother, who offered me a ride. The train was spiffy and made me smile.
Portland was soggy and dark green and grey. Everything in the Northwest is green, grey, or dark blue. Rain is constantly falling in one form or another, and there is always moisture everywhere. I am now in Portland, and i am soggy. It's wonderful. I'm home!