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Dear Nashville TSA line: Your agonizing length about killed me, but I did make friends

Columnist Sherry Kuehl had made peace with standing in a TSA line — or so she thought.
Columnist Sherry Kuehl had made peace with standing in a TSA line — or so she thought. Rodolfo Gonzalez

Depending on what study you believe, the average person spends anywhere from two to five years of their life waiting in line.

I, in a concentrated attempt to become more patient, have been doing my own deep dive into waiting.

It seems we’ve accepted that some lines are going to be horrible — like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lines at the Orlando, JFK or Los Angeles airports — and therefore have conditioned ourselves to a “it is what it is” mentality.

I used to be totally okay, serene even, waiting in TSA lines that looped like the world’s largest braided area rug through various airports, telling myself that security matters.

But the Nashville airport changed that mindset — big time.

Last month I was stuck in the worst line of my life and that’s saying something because I once waited 90 minutes in 106 degree Florida heat, with a humidity that was so intense I felt like I was being smothered by Chewbacca, to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Walt Disney World. It’s been four years but I’m still haunted by the co-mingling of body odor (mine included), creating a cauldron of sweat stew that swirled through the line and assaulted our nostrils.

The agony of the Nashville line topped that and then some.

I think the big problem was I wasn’t prepared. I get it; Nashville is fun but it’s a medium-sized city. I had no idea their TSA line would be worthy of a country ballad.

It wasn’t just the volume of humans in line that was making me question if I would make the flight I got there two hours early for; it was the pace. Progress was measured in centimeters.

I use two units of measure to qualify if a line is egregiously long. The first one is if I’m standing in line so long I’m able to not only join in on a stranger’s conversation but also offer advice. The second is if I’m able to not only give someone advice but also become brand new Facebook buddies.

At the Nashville TSA line I made six new social media besties — a personal record.

Making matters worse was my husband, who with his TSA Precheck, swaggered right on past me and went through an alternate checkpoint that required zero shoe, belt, jacket electronics or liquid removal. He was done with security in under 5 minutes.

I, on the other hand, was in the line for so long that my husband was able to order, eat lunch at a sit down restaurant and go sock shopping.

Now before anyone starts to judge my husband for not ditching his TSA Pre so he could stand in solidarity with his wife please note I wouldn’t let him. Our marriage has survived a lot but I fear this line might have taken it down.

Sure, I made some new friends but it was best that he was spared the fury that I was trying to tamp down. Trust me when I tell you it was much safer that the man was buying socks with tiny guitar illustrations on them.

When I finally made it out to the other side I vowed to get TSA Pre. As soon as I got home I made an online appointment, showed up with a flurry of documents and, you guessed it — waited and waited in line.

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs on Instagram @snarky.in.the.suburbs, and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.

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