I got selected for a random bag search at the station on my way home.
At first I was sort of excited – this was the first time I’d even seen them doing random bag searches at a metro station, let alone been pulled aside. (Random searches & testing for explosives residue started in December 2010 and I’ve ridden a *lot* of trains since then).
The excitement soon turned to annoyance when I joined two other middle aged women at the table where 3 officers stood trying to get their machines working. (Wouldn’t you think they’d have things organized *before* pulling people aside?) We three covered their diversity objective – one white woman, one black woman and one Asian/Hispanic woman. I will assume there were no men carrying bags/backpacks at the time we were randomly selected……
I asked an officer who seemed to be in charge: “how long does this take” in what I thought was my pleasant inquiring voice but which may have come across as cranky-tired- end of the day – just wanna get home- WTF – type of voice…
The very curt response: “Dunno, but you can’t get on the train til your bag is done!”
I wasn’t willing to really test the situation but I think I could’ve walked out of the station and caught a bus or walked to the next station. But doesn’t that just make you look suspicious….
Eventually the officer said “thank you for your patience” as he rubbed the sides and handles of my tote bag with some special dampened pad which he then wiped onto a piece of paper which he fed into the previously problematic reader. Little bars of colour could be seen moving across the screen and then he said “you can go”… Never even looked inside the bag.
I walked off annoyed that I’d missed my train and thinking how absolutely furious I’d have been if that damp swab had removed any of the blue dye from my new leather bag!!!
As I’d already marked myself as trouble I thought it unwise to whip out my camera and take photos of the officers and the process so you’ll have to make do with a photo of my maybe dangerously suspicious, but gorgeously blue, bag: