It was so relaxing and I so needed to spend some cue tee with my lovely bestie Krissy and her family. And I'm sorry, moms, but my nephew E is THE cutest little boy on the planet. True story.
|See? Cutest kid everrrrr.|
Krissy also took me a spa at Caesar's Palace which was ahmayzingggg! How had I not discovered spa life before? This really deserves its own post, to be honest. From the herbal steam room to the ice room to the different whirlpools (Roman Bath style) of differing temperatures to the tea room to the cold menthol towels, all of which was included in a day pass, I was in heaven.
They give you cozy robes and spa flip flops and everything is provided for you from shower supplies to water and juice and snacks. Bliss. Clothing is optional and I wore a swimsuit, but wish I was brave enough to go nude (it's gender divided). Maybe next time. When in Rome, right?
Plus it was lovely to have girl time with my girl all day again, just like old times when we lived together and could gossip non-stop. That is, until a lady yelled at us to keep it down. Snort. At least it was at the end of the day.
But, before I knew it, the weekend was over and I had to fly home. Sad face. I did miss my kitties and my bed and the wet Portland air. So fly home I had to.
Thus begins the portion of the story where I talk about this TSA madness.
Flying to Vegas out of PDX was a breeze. Same old security lines. No special xrays. No enhanced pat-downs. A breeze.
Flying out of McCarren? Where do I even start?
They had the new machines and I saw people being pulled at random to be screened. Though I did not have to go through. I had planned, if given the choice between naked pictures and enhanced groping, to choose pictures. Unless they buy me a drink first. Then, who knows where this night may lead?
But I wasn't. I assume I'm not the profile of a terrorist. Whatever the fuck that means. I know what it means. It means I'm a white girl. Dur. Bullshit dur.
Everyone is talking about the new measures and how they infringe upon our 4th amendment rights. But I have to say that the machines and searches were only a part of the problem. Until you're in line at security, it's hard to know what it feels like to be there.
The energy was...terrifying. I kid not.
But I'll get to that in a second, because my story does not end there.
After security, I sat in the terminal for 5 years waiting to board the plane. Being SouthWest, I lined up in the A group per usual. That's when they announced there would be additional screening procedures in line.
This entailed TSA agents circling us like vultures, picking random people to search their carry-ons. Never mind that we'd already been through security. Never mind that those chosen only included one woman (who had to prove her water bottle which she'd filled after security was, in fact, water) and of all the men chosen, only one was white.
What this proved was beyond me. But what it felt like? Was intimidation.
I apologize if this feels like hyperbole, but this is what it felt like: like a scene from Schindler's List or a movie about the Communist scare in the US in the fifties. We stood in silence as they eyeballed us, walked through us like dogs, sniffing us, daring us to protest or say anything to get us pulled aside. We all just wanted to be left alone, so we stood silently like pliant cattle, not making eye contact, hoping they wouldn't pick us.
I am fairly well traveled. From international travel before and in college to the over two years I spent traveling domestically for work, I know the drill. Security never bothers me. I pick the right lines, plan my bags to make it easy, wear slip-on shoes, etc. I have never before felt scared or intimidated at the airport. Never.
But it was scary. Even though I knew I wouldn't likely be chosen, the energy was scary and tense.
It didn't feel like it was about terrorism. It felt like a witch hunt. It felt like a case of too much power wielded over those of us powerless to stop it.
Ahhh but we've been fascist all along, don't you see, Andy?
If you'll allow me to pontificate a little more, I'd like to quote a passage from The Lacuna:
"But I was thinking of what you said about confronting my accuser. I thought the Constitution gave me the right to know the charges against me. And who was bringing them."Uh huh. Exactly. A real American just accepts his fate. Accepts that you give up your rights to board a plane because "if you have nothing to hide," what's the problem?
Myers drained hi coffee cup and leaned forward with a little grunt to set the cup on the table. We were nearly finished, I could tell.
"Whenever I hear this kind of thing," he said, "a person speaking about constitutional rights, free speech, and so forth, I think, 'How can he be such a sap? Now I can be sure that man is a Red.' A word to the wise, Mr. Shepherd. We just do not hear a real American speaking in that manner."
What's the problem indeed.