The hellishness of airports isn’t anything new to people who travel. It is magnified though when you are autistic, prone to sensory overload, ADD, synesthetic, anxious, and without your service dog.
This is an essay about security check and boarding.
Sea-Tac doesn’t handle large crowds at security in an efficient way. People wend in winding lanes marked out by security guards and people holding signs back at the Southwest check-in desk saying, “End of the Line”.
End of the line indeed. End of the line for my patience. And sanity. And calm.
Sensory overload, for those who haven’t experienced it, is basically like your mind is the pot that you’re making pour over coffee in: It’s great when you have something supportive to keep the filter from breaking, but if there isn’t that support the filter will just rip and spill all the coffee grounds into the pot and you won’t have a cup of coffee, just a sad pile of what could have been.
(Patience, calm, lack of anxiety would be the ceramic pour over supportive cone, the coffee grounds are the senses your body has coming in, and the coffee the ideal filtered input into the conscious mind.)
So security check. People on all sides, everyone with different conversations, warnings, each guard shouting instructions, none of them in unison. TSA security job circling, sniffing. Tail wagging. Workers talking about the day and comparing crowds. Conversations switch:
“Where’s my bag–”
“No, you have to keep your phone in your bag, I need to switch–”
“Just keep walking, don’t stop for the dog, just keep walking, don’t–”
“Can I bring–?”
“Just go to the side–no the other side–”
End of the line, everything in the bag, put it on the track to be checked, and X-rayed.
“Keep your shoes on. If you don’t think your shoes will set off the metal detector keep them on. No ma’m, shoes off now. Shoes off. You, shoes on. Yes walk through here.
Ma’m? Miss, walk through here now. Go, you’re fine now.”
Where’s my bagpursecellphone. There’s my bagpursecellphone. Forty minutes to take off, walk to the terminal. Walk straight, focus. Stay focused, which gate. Will I be too late to pre board? Focused. End of this line. B3? No, B8. I miss BB8 (my rat). Focus.
Almost missed pre board? No, plane is unloading. Shit, so many people.
“Kids, stay here–”
“I’ll need to save my juice. No not for that, for the other flight–”
“Aw, now see that’s my niece…” (Playing a video of a crying baby loudly.”
Boarding unaccompanied minors.
Boarding pre boarding.
Sit down, next to the window, breath.
Person sits next to me.