On Sundays in my apartment, the coffee table where the Air sat becomes the final resting place for the bulky New York Times. It is not unusual for other magazines, and newspapers from previous days, to accumulate there as well. My wife, whose clutter tolerance is well below my own, sometimes will swoop in and hastily gather the pulp in a huge stack, going directly to the trash-compactor room just down the hall from our apartment, dumping the pile into a plastic recycling bin. Sometimes the whole mess gets so nasty that I even perform this task myself. Could it be that somewhere in the stack was a Macintosh computer so thin that its manufacturer brags it could fit inside an envelope? I believe so. (For the record, my wife does not subscribe to this theory.)
As humiliating as it sounds, let me repeat: the MacBook Air is so thin that it got tossed out with the newspapers.
Today, something is different. Instead of my bags trundling through the x-ray machine, she stops the belt. Calls over another agent, a palaver. Another agent flocks to the screen. A gabble, a conference, some consternation.
They pull my laptop, my new laptop making its first trip with me, out of the flow of bags. One takes me aside to a partitioned cubicle. Another of the endless supply of TSA agents takes the rest of my bags to a different cubicle. No yellow brick road here, just a pair of yellow painted feet on the floor, and my flight is boarding. I am made to understand that I should stand and wait. My laptop is on the table in front of me, just beyond reach, like I am waiting to collect my personal effects after being paroled.
I’m standing, watching my laptop on the table, listening to security clucking just behind me. “There’s no drive,” one says. “And no ports on the back. It has a couple of lines where the drive should be,” she continues.
A younger agent, joins the crew. I must now be occupying ten, perhaps twenty, percent of the security force..
Behind me, I hear the younger agent, perhaps not realizing that even the TSA must obey TSA rules, repeating himself.
“It’s a MacBook Air.”
He missed his flight.