Saturday, December 04, 2010

The science of getting to the climate conference

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the climate talks. Actually several funny things, and some not so funny, and these things promise to continue through the end of the COP16 because, well, people are stupid.

I’ve written a lot about the logistics of this place, and they really are horribly, horribly bad, but to be fair to the United Nations and the 194 separate countries participating, it’s not all their fault. Much of it is the fault of the people, many of them my brothers and sisters in the media.

Take passing through security. It’s difficult, but I haven’t seen a single full-body scanner, no one here is “touching my junk.” I feel like I should moo every time I start through the line, but it’s really not an onerous process.

Unless there’s someone in front of me who just doesn’t get it.

Here’s a hint, if you want to pass through a security line quickly, stop talking on your cell phone and put it in the tray. You know, the plastic thingy that the security guard is gesturing wildly at, while you continue to be oblivious to the fact that he’s even there.

This isn’t rocket science, especially for people who travel. Of course some of the people doing it aren’t rocket scientists either.

I was behind a woman television reporter a couple of days ago who hasn’t learned this lesson. She wobbled along the tiled portico toward security on impossibly high heels, with a short skirt, carefully quaffed (blond) hair, and strong evidence of a plastic surgeon with a dirigible fixation.

As I waited impatiently to pass through and board the bus to the conference room, she stood in front of the metal detector, blocking the way, and continued to giggle into her I-Phone in a language I didn’t recognize. (I’m not sure what country she was from, but I think if was Brassiere.)

Finally recognizing that walking and talking are in fact possible at the same time, she walked through the detector with the phone still pressed to her head.

Buzzzzz. Wrong.

No, the security guard told her, motioning for her to go back. On the third try, she placed the phone on the x-ray belt and walked through again, her name tag with the large metal clip on it still around her neck.

Buzzzzz. Wrong again.

After two more tries, neither of which included removing the name tag that the guard was pointing at, the weary man finally waved her onward and I was able to pass through the machine. I’m only glad that the machine wasn’t capable of detecting silicone. I might never have gotten to my press conference.

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