The whole thing seems so artificial. You are standing there in a line like a dead log for 15 minutes and then once you get close to those x-ray machines, your activity level drastically goes up. You take your laptop out in a hurry, remove shoes, remove belt, coat take your cell phone, wallet keys out. Walk through that detector gate and quickly put all these back on and leave in a minute. Some of us feel the time pressure that we have to do all this in record time, some of us (read as old people) do it so slowly that you need a shave by the time they are done.
Then there are these people who feel they have accomplished something if they cross that metal detector without a whistle from that machine. They have this smug look on their face when they walk. The self-rightous, "Look at me - I am such a nice person - I am so safe" look as they tip-toe through the small gate. They walk slowly and carefully as if - speeding - would tick off some sort of an alarm. When you reach the other side of the gate you hope for a trophy or an award for being the safest man on earth. But all you get is a signature and an unspoken mandate to dress up and leave quickly.
Some times you get good company in the aircraft, sometimes you dont wanna talk to people at all. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to meet a very diffent co-passenger (yes! my "single serving friend"). He was so excited from the moment he got on the flight. He must have been around 22-23 years old. We were approaching Detroit, and he kept peering closer into the window (I was in window and he was in aisle) and said "Detroit so beautiful. Its the best place in the world". I was surprised. I mean we just flew out of Chicago, which according to me was just awesome. And this was Detroit we were talking about. The fungus of America. And he was pointing to the small lights far far away and said "see christmas lights. its so beautiful". I couldn't resist but ask him "is this where you are from?" and he said "yes". We landed and I could visually see his excitement level increasing. It was unmistakable. He was behaving exactly the same way I would behave every time I landed in Madras. After the permission was given to switch on the cell phone, I called up my wife and told her I had landed. The guy apparently heard my foriegn tongue and asked me "Do you speak Urdu?". I told him I didn't speak Urdu. He then asked "where are you from". I told him - India. "But dont Indians speak Urdu?" he said confused. I said "well.. some, not all, Muslims in India speak Urdu". So I asked him where he was flying in from. He said " from Iraq".