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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Tax Dollars at work..

It has been an interesting week to say the least.

Left San Jose last Sunday afternoon to visit a few Texan cities and came back Friday night.

Needless to say the kids were happy to see daddy back, the wife expected daddy to be his 100% as though he has not left the couch after a week of hectic work, and the work just continues on..

While this is all expected and is being handled with some deep breathing and selective shutting off of various senses at various times, the trip did have its tense moments.

My drivers license, god bless the DMV expired in November. Anticipating this had gone and stood in line for a few hours at the DMV in late October and received an extension (which is a piece of paper with my signature and DMV seal etc.) which lasted a few months.

We keep waiting for this license that never showed and have traveled multiple times with the expired license and this piece of paper. As it so happens, the paper also has an expiry date and it had "expired" recently!

Without realizing this, yours truly keeps showing this piece of paper and travels.. the typical conversation when I show my ID will be :

ID'er (TSA agent, Car renter, Hotel lobby clerk, etc. ) : This license is expired. You know that right ?

Me : Oh Yeah. Here is my extension. Waiting for the license to come in the mail

ID'er : Okay, go right on..

So on this trip, got waived through San Jose TSA, Boarding card checking dude, AVIS car renting dude at counter .. and finally when I was about to go out of the parking lot some kid who probably gets paid a minimum wage at AVIS to verify your identity against your contract says :

Sir, your license has expired

Me : Oh Yeah. Here is my extension. Waiting for the license to come in the mail

MWD : Sir, your extension has also expired. I cannot let you drive out with this vehicle. I have to cancel this contract ASAP.

Me : WTF !!!

So had to think on my feet, call a colleague to the airport and get him to rent me a vehicle.

Subsequent to that the same Drivers license was used at two different hotel lobbies and they waved me through while my friend couldn't contain his laughter watching me hand it over nonchalantly. What else could I do?

That got me worried. What if the Austin TSA flagged this and don't let me fly back to San Jose without a "valid" photo ID?

Spent a few hours on hold with the California DMV and finally reached a person in Sacramento headquarters who was nice enough to send me another extension by FAX !

The funny thing was Austin TSA dudes who looked at my expired license and waved me through as well! I did have the extension in my pocket if asked and was ready go through the "Oh yeah..." routine..

While I was contemplating all this tax dollars at work, an older lady (in her early seventies is my guess) who happened to be just in front of me on the security line was pulled out because she had a tub of skin cream. The conversation with the agent was

TSA : Maam, we need to take you and the bag because there is something in your bag which should have been in a separate ziploc bag..

Lady : It is skin cream and it is almost empty

TSA : 100ml or less maam. You know the rules

Lady: The tub says more but the amount left in the tub is way less than 100 mL

TSA : You have two options. Either we throw this away now or you go back in line to the counter and put it in your bag and check it in and come back through the counter.

Lady : Fine. Throw it away ! (and shakes her head)

That sparked a different thought in my head. With technology being so advanced why cannot they

a. detect that it is indeed skin creme
b. make the lady put some on her skin to show it is indeed skin creme
c. check it to be really <100 ml

and send it on!

Better still do away with this 100mL bullshit because I am sure the real terrorists who bring explosives will manage to pack a punch in <100 mL and will be whisked in with good valid ID's!

Took one look at the drum where the skin creme went and was appalled by the sight of so many tubes of diaper rash creme, face creme, shaving cremes, perfumes, colognes, etc. etc.

How much of value is wasted across the United States with this stupid rule? We seriously need to reevaluate the security policy that continues to harass folks and does not do what it is supposed to do..

Until then we continue on with thought like "Hmm.. didn't know we could blow up planes with diaper rash cream!"

As irony would have it, the new drivers license arrived by post on Saturday afternoon!


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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 4:24 PM, Blogger Mahesh wrote...

Sundar, totally agree. Been thru SFO recently and going thru security was appalled to see a probably 70+ old granny in a wheel chair getting frisked. How much more disgusting can this security check thing get ? She could barely get up and had trouble just to be on her feet for a minute.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 8:51 AM, Blogger Kavi wrote...

Congratulations ! On the new licence ! :)


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