He got the cheap thrill. If he wants intelligent conversation about my iBot too, I better be getting dinner out of it....

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/11/19 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2010/11/19/10093678.aspx

Humming this variation on the song: You may know what its like to be held up, to be felt up, behind blue gloves...

The patdowns.

There is a lot in the news about the TSA patdowns.

I think about it, but for me it is old news.

As a guy in a wheelchair (and an iBot is a wheelchair no matter how cool people may think it is), I have been felt up by TSA on every flight I have taken.

I don't care for it, I find it to be kind of humiliating.

I'm not fond of radiation either, but I currently spend 6-18 hours a day sitting atop two NiCad batteries, so all I can say about radiation danger is ship sailed.

So I'd choose the humiliating dangerous scanner if they would let me, but they can't -- the scanner won't work on me.

So I endure being felt up by strangers behind blue gloves.

For me it is a little worse, interestingly enough.

Even though I am not currently given the "embarrass the living crap out of me intense patdown intended to embarrass me about not choosing the backscatter" patdown (presumably because I cannot even opt-in, which would make punishing me for opting out kind of stupid), the iBot itself gets some eyes on it. I remember the 6-year-old who asked his mom as she and he walked by me "Why are they doing that to him? That's a bad touch!" and it would be hard to say whether it was the mom or I who was more mortified.

So I get the eyes on me as if they were trying to shame me into backscattering.

Yet every time I go through I know the iBot distracts the TSA people too -- and I have to routinely point out to them the steps they have missed during the screening, steps involving the iBot itself.

The TSA agents are occasionally suspicious but more often grateful for the assist.

Sometimes they want to ask me about the iBot but I find myself drawing the line.

Total strangers who entreat me with questions about the iBot will get a tiny slice of my time, if they have time.

People I know can get a bit more if they want it.

People I am involved with get a much time as they want (though talking about the iBot does not put me in the mood, if you know what I mean).

But the stranger in the airport who feels me up while they wear blue gloves? He (or she -- it has sometimes been a she) got the cheap thrill. If intelligent conversation about my chair is also desired, I better be getting dinner out of it.... 

John Cowan on 19 Nov 2010 7:57 AM:

Three cheers for the kid.

Umm, what radiation danger?  Direct-current sources like batteries don't radiate.

Michael S. Kaplan on 19 Nov 2010 8:08 AM:

NiCad batteries have issues (when they start to go bad) with the cadmium....

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