In many US airports, there are two security lines. One is specifically for experienced travelers. The other is designed for those new to the process. The only difference that I have identified is the frequency and volume of how often one is reminded of what needs to be done. The voices are real, human, loud, and repetitively annoying to those who know the steps with their hearts. Computers should be out and in a separate tray. Liquids are to be put in a clear bag. All shoes and coats should be removed and put in a tray. Values should be in something, not left for anyone to remove. Keep your ticket with you.
As I left Mumbai, I strangely found myself missing the repetitive drone. There was no reminding signage. No commanding voices flooded the room. Even with the flow going back against itself at one step, seasoned travelers quietly went about their business. Those not in the know were blindly thrashing out against the current. Coats were left on, computers stuffed in bags, and tickets blissfully repacked. It was total chaos. Nothing moved quickly. In the forty-five minutes it took for me to get through the simple steps, I found myself quietly humming a meditative chat, focusing on the willingness that peace has to flood each of our hearts.
While the guards watched with indifference, nerves between everyone else were frayed beyond recognition. Given the mix of languages, nobody was sure what to say to those looking for direction. With the added pressure of departing flights and late night tiredness, it was an unholy mix.
There is a balance between Mumbai and standard operating procedures in US airports. Guidance can be helpful. For all travelers, this balance comes when these guidelines are sufficient to keep relations congenial between us. And God be with you! (Acts 15.29)
I wake in a new city and an unwritten diary. I find myself looking to communicate clearly, helping those around me help me. God offers this. It is the least I can do for others as well as myself.