While a passport is for ten years, Global Entry is five years. My Global Entry expired a year or so before Covid hit the world. At some point before that, under the rule of Trump, New York State got into a beef with the president over verbiage of a new rule that the state dared to disagree with. Long story-short, the entire state was put on punishment. I could not renew my Global Entry. I wanted to cry the first time I had to stand in the long lines of custom again, so I sighed and (im)patiently waited for the governmental pissing contest to end.
A few months ago, now under a new president and new governor – on a whim, I decided to try to reapply again. The good news: Success! New York State has been let out of the time out corner and my application to renew was accepted. The bad news: it was a five month wait between the day I submitted my renewal and my in person interview was scheduled. So last night, I looked at my list and checked it thrice. I wanted nothing on my end to be a factor of it not being renewed.
The location I chose for the renewal is very secure. I knew this. Getting into the building was a process, getting to floor was another process, getting into the office was yet another. It’s designed to intimidate and does a damn good job of it if you don’t already work in a government office. I do. Some people do not comprehend the meaning of remove all metal items from your pockets, some choose not to. I already knew I was going to be dealing with the latter as stood in queue to enter.
Similar to when I go to the airport, other than my rings and my phone, all my metal accoutrements stay in my purse long enough for me to get through the check point. I put them on once I am past the metal detectors. At least we did not have to take off our shoes here. The woman in front of me was different. She had on metal. Statement necklace and rings. Chain hanging from her jeans. Piercings. Even her sneakers were studded. I inwardly sigh.
She steps up to the metal detector and naturally sets it off. Security makes her back up and start removing gear. But it was the non metal thing she wore that caught my eye.
“Excuse me?” I attempt to garner her attention without touching her. “Miss?”
If there is one thing I know about my voice, it is that it carries. I make an effort to moderate its natural tendency to whisper like a foghorn. So I know I am heard. She’s either ignoring me or, as her second attempt also sets the sensors off, she’s annoyed. I try again, I’m blatantly ignored with a huff and eyeroll. Fine. As she removes more metal, security sees me waiting and signals for me to come around.
Miss Metal steps to block my path. “Where you going Lizzo wanna-be? Don’t skip!”
For those who may not know, Lizzo is as an African-American singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist. Lizzo also happens to be plus-sized. I wish I had half of the performer’s talent, but I know that is not how her name is being used in this context with me a plus-sized African-American woman who has literally said exactly five words to her total. Hardly enough for her to gauge any singing talent I may have (for the record I don’t have any singing talent – but not the point here).
I’m not offended by the comparison. I am offended by the comparison as means of insult from a possibly recalcitrant, definitely ignorant, woman half my size and severely melanin challenged. That’s me being polite for stupid skinny pasty white chick with an attitude. It’s early Monday morning, people, I haven’t had coffee yet – don’t mess with me.
Before I can say anything, the security guard who signaled me does.
“If that Lizzo comment was supposed to be an insult you’re wrong. She’s not jumping the line, I called her – you’re wrong. And now that you’ve turned around I do think she was about to tell you about the roller you still have in your hair. She’s trying to do you a favor and you attempted to insult her for nothing – you’re three ways wrong.” he looks past her to me, motioning with his hand, “Harry, grab her bins, willya? You can come this way miss.”
Her face goes red in a way that is part chagrin and part embarrassment as I point out my waiting bins to Harry. Either way it’s lovely to me to watch as she feels around in her hair, finds and removes the roller that she has been running around with this morning. I toss my hair back, look at, blow on, then buff my nails on my blouse as I pass her and then go through the metal detector without a hitch. As I reach my Knight in Shining Polyester -aka, the guard who signaled me- he does a bad job of suppressing his grin as he stage whispers, “I gotta admit, I was hoping you’d do just that.”
“I gotta admit – it felt good as hell to do, thank you!” I reply collecting my belongings and wait to be escorted upstairs for my interview.
Twenty minutes later, the woman -sans nearly all the metal I first saw her in- is just arriving upstairs. Interview over I am leaving the office – in all the jewelry I wasn’t wearing earlier because I knew better, a renewed Global Entry traveler once again.
I could not resist it, “Yes, I am 100% that bitch.”
I knew by her face she got the message and I just grinned.
For those unfamiliar with Lizzo’s music:
- my comment as I headed out was from Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”.
I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch
- my actions as I passed Miss Metal the first time were the opening lines to Lizzo’s song “Good As Hell”. The security guard, clearly familiar with the music, recognized my subtler interpretation
I do my hair toss
Check my nails
Baby how you feelin’?
Feeling good as hell
Day 21 of 31 – Let’s see how others are slicing it out today…
15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers
I. Love. This. The inner dialogue that leaves out the detail about the roller until we hear it from the guard is the best part! It’s when we realize, as she does, just how deep she’s dug this hole. Thanks for the Lizzo lesson at the end, too. You include her “moves” in the order they happen, but, like an author’s note, you help us to see the meaning after we’ve made the mental picture clear. Well done!
Thank you. Morgan.
Love love love! Thanks for sharing! Once you Global Entry, it’s tough going back. Also, obviously that person needed MORE Lizzo in her life, not less. You were doing the world a public service.
Congratulations on getting your Global Entry renewed and for putting that person in her place. She sure needed it. Having the guard voice the problem is pure story genius.
By that point I was fully prepared to let her go for however long with that thing on her head before she found out. Can’t lie, having the guard tell her was such satisfying schadenfreude. Thank you!