You know, I've been feeling really rotten about not registering for Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe next March, but the more I read about the new TSA regulations, the more I'm thinking that the only way I'm going to make it is if we drive.
Now understand, I really really, REALLY want to go to this conference! It's gonna be tons of fun and it's in Santa Fe, which both Lillian and I adore. We've been looking forward to it from the moment Pari told us that she'd won the bid. And have you looked at that author line-up? Wahoo!
I don't think I need more radiation, and yeah, they say it's no big deal and it won't hurt you, but I figure if I need more radiation, it'd better come with a doctor's prescription. That, however, is the least of my worries, and it's pretty strong.
I also don't know why they need to see me naked. I don't like it. It's not that I'm ashamed of my body even though I'm aging and pudgy. In the general scheme of things, I'm comfortable with being me. And after all my time in theatre, I know parts is parts.
But I also know that while they say they're not storing these images, that is, in all likelihood not the case. They may not know the images are being stored, but I have absolutely no faith in my government not to store these images. I also have great faith in hackers being able to intercept them. And as J. D. Rhoades says when addressing this same issue, "there are some really strange people out there."
Although what they'd do with these images escapes me. That's not the issue. It's one of privacy and my right to decide who gets to see naked images of me, even if they're kinda grainy and in black and white.
I also don't want the groping, invasive, full-body feel-up. Unless you're a medical professional, my wife, or I'm under arrest, no one should be touching me that intimately.
Oh, and speaking of being under arrest, do you know what happens if you get into the line to be scanned or groped and change your mind? Guess what? You can't. Once you're in that line, you're committed. If you decide, as a free American citizen, to change your mind, you can be pulled aside, REALLY frisked (cavity check, anyone?), interrogated, and you could face an $11,000 fine.
I've seen some of these TSA folks in action. They're not as professional as they'd have you believe. So if you're of an age where you might have, oh, say an adult diaper, or if you have a medical condition that means you have a colostomy bag, how do you think this is gonna play? Something doesn't look quite right to them ("Can you please step aside, Mr. . .Sontag, is it? We need to see whatever it is you have attached to your side. Yes, sir, we need to see it."), or doesn't feel right ("All right, Mrs. Phillips, step over here into this room, and drop your pants, please. Yes, you have to."), then they're going to make your life even more challenging than it already is.
Unless, of course, you're "Man of the People" John Boehner, the upcoming Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is taking commercial flights (because, y'know, he's one of us. . .), except that he doesn't have to go through the scanners OR the pat-downs. Because, of course, he's not like your average American citizen, and I don't mean just that creepy-ass orangeish tan thing he's got going. He's a man of the people as long as it doesn't inconvenience him. Typical politician.
So anyway, at this point I'm not planning on going anywhere we can't drive or take a train. The airlines won't be getting my money unless there's some sort of emergency. I still have the right to choose some things, and I choose not to be treated like a criminal. Innocent until proven guilty no longer seems to be an American concept, which is disturbing, but I see no need to subject myself to this kind of disrespect and humiliation.
And that means no Left Coast Crime in March. Which is a shame, 'cause I really was looking forward to it!