This newest terror alert and the ensuing security lockdown has come at the most inopportune of times for me. Tomorrow morning at 8a.m. I have to catch a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend my friend Seema’s wedding. First, let’s take a quick look at what I cannot bring with me:
Advice if you’re flying:
1. Liquids are banned from carry-on luggage and cannot be taken through security checkpoints. That includes drinks, toothpaste, perfume, shampoo, hair gel, suntan lotion and similar items. Drinks purchased in the airport cannot be carried onto flights.
2. Baby formula and medications will be allow but must be presented for inspection at security checkpoints.
3. All shoes must be removed and placed on an X-ray belt for screening.
4. Passengers are also asked to arrive at least two hours early to allow for additional screening.
5. Passengers traveling to the United Kingdom should contact their airline for information about any extra security measures or precautions that might be required. Laptop computers, mobile phones and iPods were among items banned on British flights. [Link]
I’m a 30-year-old single male. There are fewer opportunities for me to meet eligible women (according to my parents). A desi friend’s wedding is supposed to be a money venue. But just look at my predicament. I cannot shampoo my hair (hotel shampoo doesn’t count) or apply even a modest amount of styling gel to my hair in order to achieve that proper look between sophistication and slackerdom. Even worse, without my contact lens solution I will have to keep my contacts in my eyes the entire weekend, which will in turn cause me to spastically blink (to prevent the increasing dryness) every time I go to talk to a girl. Even if I make it this far, who will want to talk to a guy that hasn’t been able to brush his teeth because his toothpaste has been confiscated? I didn’t even mention the lack of shaving cream (stubble makes me look like a terrorist) or the lack of aftershave lotion that will make my face itch and burn all night even if I use the hotel provided shaving cream and blade. Also, wearing a suit makes me sweat, a fact that will be obvious since I won’t have any cologne to mask the scent.
What is Chertoff so afraid of?
If someone wanted to obtain a solid high explosive in a liquid form, it would not be difficult for a trained chemical technologist.
But if someone was using a backyard laboratory it is more likely they would go for the two component approach.
Not a lot of experience is needed, the principles are quite simple but it would be a hazardous process of trial and error.
I would not want to be messing about these things. It has been known for schoolboys to go home and attempt this and blow their house up. [Link]
p>Using some items that I just removed from my bag I thought I would demonstrate for our readers how such a device could be constructed:
p>As if all of the above wasn’t bad enough, a large portion of Seema’s family is coming from London. This probably includes some eligible cousins with British accents. Flights from London face even more severe restrictions and it is entirely possible that some of them won’t make it to the wedding. They’ve also been barred from bringing mobile phones with them which gives them the perfect excuse to not take my number for further correspondence.
p>Now I know what some of you overly precocious readers are going to say. Sajit has already said it. “But Abhi, you can just check in your baggage and its all good. You can take all of these items with you.” No! I cannot just check-in my baggage and then wait for it on both ends like a common plebian. Frequent travelers go to obscene lengths to not have to wait at baggage claim. It is an art form and serves as one of the best measures of a man in today’s society to see how little he can travel with and how fast he can be ready to go. I will not give in to terrorism or the terrorists who want to change our way of life. I will not wait at baggage claim. I will not let them win. I know the statistics are on my side.
p>Mr. Michael Chertoff, I just wanted you to know that raising the terror alert to “Severe,” has just put a “Severe” limit on the possibility that I will ever be able to find love in this time of terrorism.