Complicating The Uncomplicated
Posted by Jamie C. Baker
I work in a very large government building as a contractor along with soldiers of various ranks and civilians. In order to get into the building you need either a Common Access Card (CAC), government ID, or you must be signed in as a visitor by an employee with the proper identification. You must also go through a metal detector and have your personal belongings X-rayed, just like the airport. It’s the typical system that any functioning member of society should be familiar with; single file line through security, empty your pockets into bins or your bag prior to passing through the detector, be wanded if applicable, collect your belongings and move along. It’s stupid simple, yet for some ungodly reason, people forget how to use their brains as soon as the security area is visible.
In my building, we have a line that snakes around so that employees don’t get stuck standing outside in the awful Indiana weather. One of the issues with this is that the entrance to the building has a dozen doors and people coming from all directions. I don’t mess around with the line; I want to get in and get through as smoothly and quickly as possible. If you’re playing with your bag or standing there staring into space, I’m moving past you and getting in line. This morning as I entered, there were two women chatting right inside a set of double doors. One saw me coming and stepped into line while the other was pushed into the line by the crowd piling in behind her. All I want to go is get through the line, but all these ladies were concerned about was the fact that I was standing between them. The one behind me continuously bumped into me while the one in front kept whipping her head around to ensure her companion was still in the same spot. I like my personal space, so I was a bit too annoyed at being bumped to allow the one behind me to cut in front and rejoin her friend; I figure they can wait until they pass through to hook back up.
Before you call me rude or say I was cutting in line, let me ensure I’m making things clear. I gave the second woman time to step into line but she wasn’t paying attention. I’m not about to hold up the line or my day waiting for someone to make up their mind. I’m not about to allow myself to get trampled either by the hoard entering the building. If two or more people want to have a conversation, they need to step aside and allow people to pass, not inconvenience people by standing in the way. Secondly, it’s not as though we were in line to get on a roller coaster or anything else that would require two people to be together; we’re going through security and being temporarily separated for a couple of minutes isn’t going to harm anyone or disrupt the day. Just get your ass through line and be done with it!
Once the woman in front of me showed her ID to the guard, she approached the X-ray machine only to be held up by a gentleman who waited until the very last second to empty his pockets into his briefcase. He slowly removed each item from his pocket and placed them one at a time into various pouches on his case. There are tables that allow a person to do this away from the line so others can pass, but this man chose to do this directly in front of the X-ray machine so no one else could pass; he refused to move even when prompted to do so twice by another guard. When he was finally done, the woman in front of me approached the machine and proceeded to do THE SAME THING that the man before her did; empty her coat pockets one item at a time and place them in her purse and other bag.
If you work in this building, it should take you no longer than a week to learn how to properly pass through security, and that’s if I’m being generous. It’s shockingly simple to remember that you shouldn’t have any items in your pocket once you reach the metal detector and even easier to empty your pockets while going through the line or to step aside to the table to do so. There’s no excuse to hold up the line because you choose to wait until the last possible second to prepare yourself to pass through security, especially when you deal with it every single day of your work week. People do the same thing at the airport, despite all the signs and the prior knowledge of what needs to be done beforehand. It boggles the mind.
I’m going to tell you a secret now, so listen close. Nobody enjoys going through any type of security line for any reason; it always sucks. Want to know another secret? The reason it always takes so long is not because of the inconveniences of removing your belt or placing your keys in a tray, it’s because people act like selfish idiots while going through the process. They sigh and moan about how annoying it is to have to place their loose change in a bag rather than keep it in their pocket. They make zero effort to prepare while standing in line and instead wait until the last possible second to remove their laptop from the bag and remove their bulky coat. They act as though they are the only person in line and the only one who feels inconvenienced, resulting in slowing the process and greatly inconveniencing everyone behind them.
Security measures aren’t going anywhere unless we are able to brainwash people into not wanting to stab/shoot/destroy/blow up people and things around them. Maybe one day it’ll be advanced to the point where we won’t notice it, but I don’t see that happening in my lifetime. It helps no one to bitch and moan while passing through and to be too lazy to take a few seconds to prepare yourself while standing in line. Sitting back and expecting things to change to accommodate us is an exercise in futility. If every person made the effort to help themselves pass through security checkpoints quicker and easier, the lines will automatically speed up and the process will be easier for everyone involved. It’s so simple, a child could figure it out. Why can’t adults?