This morning, I said good-bye to my Mum at Burbank Airport; she’s heading back to Glasgow. (We’d a fabulous time the past few weeks exploring glaciers in Alaska, wandering the coastline of the Central California, and hiking the desert in Joshua Tree Park – another blog will be forthcoming about all the fun stuff!) Now, I am home, alone – she is somewhere in the airport, probably sitting by the gate, worried that she won’t get an aisle seat on the Portland to Amsterdam leg of her trip, nibbling on carrots, sipping from the new bottle of water that she would have been forced to buy, also alone.
Terrorists have not stolen my sense of security; they’ve robbed me of precious hours with my mum, the joy of flying, the whimsy of showing up at an airport, buying a stand-by ticket to Vegas and be on the tarmac, ready to take-off, 20 minutes later, the trust in my fellow man. Nowadays, on board, I find myself checking everyone out, sizing up their danger level/their intentions, doing my own profiling, almost certainly mis-judging innocent people.
For me – pre-9/11 – flying had always been wondrous and magical – a chance to soar above the clouds as you embark on a new adventure, never knowing who you would meet and what fantastic places would be revealed to you. It was fun to accompany loved ones to the airport and hang out by the gate until you watched them get on the plane and wave them off, knowing they were safe and off on their own adventure in that shiny silver bird.
Post 9/11 – you’re forced to be treated like a special needs child, being herded about within the lines, being controlled in what you can bring, what you should wear, what you may say….the authorities – in the name of our safety – have dehumanized us, removing dignity and joy from the airport experience.
I’ve been patted down so thoroughly that I wasn’t sure if she was taking my measurements or giving me a medical! And anybody who has met me knows I’m the antithesis of a terrorist – a green-eyed, loquacious, animated, red headed Scot, armed with enough lip glosses to paint a picture and, since I got back from Hawaii, a flower in my hair! Yet, I always get singled out for special treatment – maybe to prove they’re not racially profiling anyone in particular….
I am not scared to fly; I am annoyed to fly…
I want to be clear: Dear terror neds, if you ever try to take down a plane that I’m on, I’ll not go quietly, you will regret choosing my plane to tamper with. You’ve already inspired me to do a marathon – something I always thought was stupid – you don’t scare me – you annoy me.
Only cowards pick on the innocent, the women, the children, the naive, the scared. I pity you – you have no love or joy in your hearts; you are fueled by bitter righteousness and misguided rage. Use your energy to create – not destroy. Try loving, not killing. Look on those that you kidnap and torture as someone loved, not just rubbish to be disposed of.
Because of you, I am alone, writing this, in my home, while my mother sits alone in an airport; both reflecting on what a fabulous time we had on our grand adventures….love, joy and gratitude flourish in both our hearts…..
Thank you, Mum, for helping create so many perfect memories….look forward to many more…love you!!!! Yxxx