Are you an expert?

At Bradley International, there are several different security lines, each labeled with a different sign: family/medical travelers, casual travelers and, for only one lane, expert travelers. Today the expert traveler line, hilariously, was closed, or I would have gotten in it (and proceeded to be annoyed by people’s loose expert self definitions). But given the casual vs. family/medical choices, I was stumped. ALL THREE of the family/medical lines were shorter than the (also three) casual traveler, but that seems like a trap right? Yeah, it’s fewer people, but they’re also people who might be, as my friend Mark recently observed to me, toddler parents trying to smuggle a twelve-pack of juice boxes through security.

At LaGuardia, which also has similar line designations, this is never a problem. The airport personnel take one look at you, then bark which line you should join. There is no choice at LaGuardia, only listen and do as you are told. But here in Connecticut, they are much more laid back. They let you determine your own level of expertise, a process just as dubious as judging your proficiency by first impression.

Based entirely on my trap theory, I chose casual, which seemed to be the right decision. The family/medical lines, I observed, did appear to move at a slightly slower pace. That’s my flawless and scientific evaluation. But here’s the fun part: my casual line merged with the expert traveler line, which opened up during my queue time, and I overheard one of the “experts” asking the TSA boarding pass checker why she had two boarding passes. “One is for your first flight, ma’am, from here to Philadelphia, and the other is for your second flight to Atlanta.”

That’s when I realized: there is a lesson to be learned here in Connecticut.  It really doesn’t matter what you ARE in this life. It matters what you THINK you are.

It matters in Connecticut, anyway. In New York, it matters what you’re wearing and how fast you walk.


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