Lanes 1 and 2 seem to be moving along at a fine clip while Lane 3, (much like the lane I often choose for the Lincoln Tunnel) is at a standstill. The TSA agent has assigned me to a security line reserved for the Elon University men’s basketball team. When I try to bring this to the agent’s attention, he frowns and advises me to stay put. From my vantage point, I am clearly the shortest individual armed with a laptop, an unwieldy leather belt, and a carry-on awaiting scrutiny. Without benefit of my thick-soled sneakers, I am even shorter. As 15 minutes roll into 20, then 25, my teammates and I wonder aloud if we will make our flights, and then, a miracle.
From behind an imposing mesh gate, a TSA agent miraculously appears, peeling back the armored divider, promising relief from our security purgatory. In an instant, my newfound friends and I create Lane 3A, emptying our pockets of loose coins, loading up plastic bins with electronic devices and over-sized travel snacks.
Hoisting my carry-on towards the conveyor belt, a bespectacled man helming the security scanner glares at me. “I’m with the team,” I state emphatically, depositing my sneakers into one more warped plastic bin emblazoned with the words, “Thank you for flying with us.”
Reunited with my sneakers and belt, I notice there is a defibrillator located mere steps beyond security. My heart racing, I run towards Gate 21, wondering if I’ll have time to stop at the mini mart for a cup of adult cereal and some fresh fruit.