Where everyone is nice for outlet access, you learn to leave two seats between people when waiting for you flight, and EVERYONE people watches.
Given that I've been flying since I was a kid, mostly on my own, one would assume I would be a master of airport navigation by now.
I can switch planes or even terminals with 35 minutes between flights, have the anatomy of a flight outfit down pat, know how to strategically pack a carry on for any situation, and fly through security with ease, especially in Sacramento.
I may be biased, but I love SMF. TSA agents are friendly, I never have to take out my liquids (and have even gotten larger than the allotted 3oz bottles through), it's clean, has all the basic necessities, and free wifi- which I've discovered is not always a given in airports.
So the one time either my ego, carelessness or combination thereof caused me to fail my airport proficiency exam, I'm glad it was in Sacramento.
I flew through security as usual, though still debating whether or not to bring my boarding pass and ID with me through the body scanner or to put it in a bin. It's always a question, do I keep it just in case? Do I send it through because the scanner is awkward enough without holding onto three boarding passes and my drivers license? Last minute I decided to toss them in the bin and be body scanned empty handed.
Getting your belongings out is always a struggle. You've got the slow person in from of you, hovering TSA waiting to collect bins, someone behind you anxiously watching and waiting for their bins, and it's a mad rush to get dressed and on your way. I was so busy scoffing at the man on front of me, I didn't pay close enough attention and walked off to look for my gate.
It was only after finding my flight on the board and walking to my gate I pulled out my ticket, and didn't remember seeing my ID. I looked, figuring it was behind the mess of phone, headphones and wallet shoved in a small purse, but couldn't find it. I had lost my drivers license and hadn't even left the city, yet!
Frantically I ran back to the security booth, and asked the nice TSA supervisor (who was reading web articles on his computer, welcome to Sacramento security!) if they had found an ID less than 5 minutes ago. He helped me look around, checked the discarded bins, and said if they found it he would page me.
I stayed at the benches placed for pulling yourself together post body scan, digging through my luggage praying it was just hiding in a corner. I had the foresight to bring my passport as a backup, but I'm planning on driving in Maine and need my license!
Not two minutes later a man walks up to the same TSA agent who helped me look, and hands him an ID! He looked at it, turned to me, "Ashley?"
I jumped up and thanked both him and the man who had found it by the departure boards profusely, thankful there are good people in the world. I have to admit it crossed my mind someone would find and keep it and steal my identity, if you can even do that with just a license.
So the moral of the story is don't get cocky about airport skills. Or anything. And count your blessing when good things happen. Because just when you think you're unstoppable, you'll lose your ID before a trip.