Ask Amy: Frequent traveler is not clear on cutting

Dear Amy: I travel by air for work relatively often and have TSA Pre-check to get through security faster.

My regional airport allows Clear to operate there, and I find myself getting angry every time a Clear employee escorts someone in front of me in line without acknowledging my presence, asking my permission, or apologizing for “cutting” in front of me.

I’ve been trying to think of a clever and direct way to preemptively signal that I’m not OK with them walking in front of me.

I’ve even looked online to see if this is something I need to accept, but haven’t found anything. Any thoughts?

— Silently Simmering

Dear Simmering: Clear is a private company that operates in airports, using biometrics (iris scan and fingerprints) to expedite passage through airport security lines. I note on the company’s website that they offer human “ambassadors” to escort paid users to the front of security lines — that’s the “cutting” you’ve experienced.

Just as you have paid extra to join the TSA Pre-check queue (allowing you to bypass many of the security checks other passengers tolerate), cutting the line seems to be the privilege these customers are purchasing.

The experience of being pre-empted by others is one of many at airports these days that passengers are not “OK” with.

An “ambassador” should make eye contact with you and say something like: “Excuse me — I’m escorting this Clear customer through the expedited line. Thank you for your patience.” In addition to being basically polite, treating other passengers well might sell their service to potential customers.

On the other hand, they may see any interchange with other passengers as opening the door to complaints.

Your question is really about how to respond to this abrupt interruption. I have no clever response, but saying, “Hi there — after you … have a nice flight,” might inspire an acknowledgment or a more polite response from them.

Dear Amy: I was married to a man named “Dan” for about a decade. We split six years ago, have two children, and maintain an excellent co-parenting relationship.

After healing from the divorce, I started dating again and got into a two-year relationship with an abusive man, who, unfortunately, is also named Dan.

My family and I eventually referred to this man as “Bad Dan” to clarify which Dan was being spoken about in conversation.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I’m once again in a healthy relationship with a great guy — whose name also happens to be Dan.

Amy, I swear I don’t search these guys out. … I actually used to automatically swipe left on *any* Dans I came across on dating sites for a very long time.

I’m struggling with creative and respectful ways of referring to all these Dans!

Luckily after taking legal steps to protect ourselves, “Bad Dan” is now completely out of the picture.

However, my ex-husband and current boyfriend will both (I hope!) be in my life for some time to come.

They both also have the same first and middle initials, although as I think aloud here one could be Dan and one could be “DJ,” assuming that one of them is OK with going by their initials.

Do you have any other ideas?

— Too Many Dans

Dear TMD: First of all, there can never be too many Dans.

This “Dan” thing is NBD (“No Big Deal,” or “No Bad Dan”).

Could your current Dan be “Danny?” Could your ex-husband Dan be “Dan-X?

When my daughter was in pre-school with approximately 14 other girls named “Emma,” everyone quickly adjusted to referring to these girls by their first name plus surname-initial. Might this work with your Dans?

Ask these Dans what they’d prefer. You never know: One of them might be harboring a secret wish to be called “Charlton” or “Amadeus.” Go with it.

Dear Amy: “Suspicious Grandma” was worried that her teen granddaughters were only visiting to get to her collection of Beanie Babies.

I just have an awful feeling that she is on to something.

I would suggest she take the Beanies to a deposit box, not tell any of her family members about it, and THEN see how often they come to visit.

This would prove everything to her.

— Also Suspicious

Dear Also: Aside from wondering how many of these stuffed toys would fit into a deposit box (a storage unit might be better suited for this collection) this begs the existential question: If my Beanie Babies don’t exist, do I?

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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