As I changed my stay close to home life and began to travel more, especially by plane, my unassuming self seems to be drawing a lot of attention. It would seem that I am no longer flying low enough under the radar since I tend to be either randomly chosen for the scan/search at the airport security area or I set the dang alarms off.
I have been scanned, touched, groped and detained multiple times and each time has caused me enormous distress as it plays with both my sensory issues and my anxiety. Geez, I am not an illegal alien..or am I? Technically I have always felt like I did not fit in nor could I understand people that well. Their language confuses the heck out of me and their customs are so ever changing that I began to rely on the unexpected to naturally happen. It is not paranoid behavior when you consider that people are so perplexing. They say one thing and do another and when they have a focus there is usually a totally different agenda. So as I travel through airports, I try so hard to blend but as I near the security area, the impulse to run is a real emotion that I now feel which as we all know, would only make me look GUILTY.
The last experience I had was after boarding a flight from Phoenix Arizona. I was stressed from coming straight off the stage after speaking at a conference, we had to run back to the hotel and grab our bags, get in a limo and rush to the airport as not to miss our flight. ( I usually take down time after presenting) We arrived at the airport to find that our scheduled flight to San Francisco then Toronto had been cancelled due to visibility problems (California was on fire) and we were instead going to Los Angeles. Yeah us! By this time my anxiety was, let us say, freaking high! We were once again subject to security check as we checked in and I must say, I was even baffled at what the scanned showed. I had a mass on the center of my back. What the heck...get it off me! The security officer said she had to put her hand up my back and my only comment, "You are not touching me!" (note: not something you want to say to airport security) My friend who was with me, showed my ASD card to the lady and she was nicer. She told me to take my time but it had to happen. What had to happen? She was going to put her hand up my back! My mind was racing with many things such as, she was going to touch me, should I see a doctor, what kind of mass? I closed my eyes, tightened my fists and yelled, "Just do it!"
I spent the next 5 hours under my coat hiding on a bench in a corner of the airport as we waited for our flight home. We made it and I survived but I now have decided that I not only can't wear watches because they stop, my debit card must be stored in plastic since I demagnetize it, I also am a security detector magnet. So here I am, a short unassuming over 50 female that now sees that I no longer am under the radar but instead a full body scan international threat.