I got back recently from a smashing week in Boston where I ate my weight in lobster tail (if I weighed 2 lbs and who the fuck are you to say I don’t) and saw all sorts of magical historical nonsense that made me feel weirdly patriotic, ate a ton of good food and had an overall good time. Never really been one to explore the native land, so I haven't actually been to the East Coast (except NY) and sometimes it really is worth the ridiculously long flight to hear some accents in person (as opposed to Ben Affleck movies).
The fact of the matter is, it was kind of amazing to stand and stare at the 3 story building that once housed the city hall in the 1700s where the Declaration of Independence was signed, perfectly preserved with towering glittery sky scrapers all around it. It’s a juxtaposition that inspires some actual appreciation of where we started and where we are now.
And then I went to the airport.
The full body scanners have been around for several months now. Whenever I fly home from Atlanta for work, I am faced with the possibility of having to have some stranger sitting in a box (where I can't see them) look at me naked to ensure I’m not carrying a weapon up my ass. But it's never happened. I've always been waved the other way and heaved a sigh of relief.
Not so in Boston. They waved me over to the Naked Cancer Machine ™. There was another man in front of me who seemed to be waiting for some reason, so like a good American, I lined up behind him. Because neither of us were actually going through, the TSA agent (female) looked at me and said “Oh, are you opting out too?”
I said “Oh, I didn’t know I could opt out. But if I can then yes, I’m opting out”.
She said “Well of course you can opt out, it just means you’ll be subject to a full body search by a female agent.”
So through the regular detector I went and then had to spread eagle on a mat in front of a bunch of strangers wandering to and from flights. I think she noticed how red my face was and asked "do you want a private search?"
"No." I replied, as her hands roamed ALL OVER my body "I want to stay here."
My eyes met Brendan's. He looked so angry. I've never seen him look so angry. And immediately I teared up. It was humiliating. I couldn't ever have guessed how humiliating it would be. But I thought that it was good that people stared as they walked by. Hopefully it helped remind them of the actual "cost" of our "freedom". And that seeing me or anyone else being groped (or naked) won't ever stop crazy people from doing crazy things.
The thing that made me so sad though was I'd just spent a week learning about where and how my country began. How it started as this tiny land of idealists (with some fucked up ideas, don't get me wrong) who nursed the little democracy, slowly trying to undo its own initial injustices one amendment at a time until it grew into a proper country. Only to culminate in me being felt up in front of strangers at an airport against my will.
It made me want to get a drink, but public consumption of alcohol is illegal.
In other news - the front running Republican candidate declared that she supports the Biblical philosophy that wives should be submissive to their husbands. I hope he at least helps loosen her whalebone corset in the evenings.