Friday, November 26, 2010

Pat THIS Down

Tuesday night I went to the salon, and we were talking about Thanksgiving plans. What we were all most thankful for was that none of us were flying anywhere for the holiday.

"What do you think of the body scanners?" my stylist Teryl asked me.

"TSA can kiss my ass," I said over the drone of the hair dryer. "If I thought body scanners were making us safe from terrorists, then it would be different."

"Then you'll have to go for a pat down," she pointed out.

True enough. But after a lifetime of conditioning about not allowing any stranger to touch my privates, any pat down is going to be on MY terms. Especially state-sanctioned fondling that offers only a vague promise of safety from terrorism. Like I said in the salon, TSA can kiss my ass. My dimpled ass, that is. Though I'm a reasonably fit 49-year-old woman, my weight has fluctuated over the years, not just due to two pregnancies, but mainly because I like to eat and drink. It'll be just like my high school job at Winchell's Donuts in Hermosa Beach--I used to wear my bathing suit underneath my uniform so I could to the beach after work. Now I'll wear it underneath my street clothes. I'm all about making life easier for the people around me.

I've been thinking about something Mr. Walter Douthwright frequently talked about in government class my senior year. He spoke of how the politics in this country are driven by crisis. As in no decisions are made until the big one strikes.

And strike it did, several times in this decade, beginning with 9/11. Our government's response--two wars that still don't have a clear outcome. Many Americans are more patient with the lack of well-defined outcomes on two wars that have spanned the decade than they are with a recession that has lasted three years. Doesn't taking your shoes off at the airport make you feel safer already?

The same people who have linked shoe removal and color alerts with national security have now brought us virtual strip searches and patdowns, as if everyone boarding a plane is a potential underwear bomber.

My friends tell me I have a knack for stating the obvious, so here I go again. What's next? Everybody has at least one body cavity. The next terrorist wannabe is going to tuck explosives where the sun don't shine. Where the hell is that going to leave airline travelers? Are we going to be treated to strip searches? I pay Lynn Walker, M.D. good money to examine me once a year. No amateurs allowed.

When my mom was out to lunch with her singing group last week, body scanners were a main topic of conversation. A middle-aged guy sitting at the table next to them interrupted.

"I couldn't help but overhear your conversation," he said. "I'm here to tell you, if I'm going through a scanner, I plan on being at full attention." Lucky for him this is a salty bunch of septugenarians.

My neighbor's father is Israeli. I asked her what the Israelis do int heir airports.

"Profiling. And it works. Oh, yeah, Israel's a smaller country with fewer airports. But it works well enough. The problem is, it will never happen in this country."

It's enough to make a girl go all Forrest Gump. Hello, running shoes. The next time I go to California to visit my parents, I'm seriously considering running there.

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