So I recently engaged in business travel to the third Buddhist enlightenment level of Anagami. How did it go? Well folks, I’m back here so that should answer your selfish question. Let’s just say you can’t do anything anymore without getting bombarded with an advertisement generated by tentacle version 45.1b of the blessed octopus.
Once upon a time you could count on the ability to sit down under the Bodhi tree and chart your own path as a future non-returner. Now you have to endure such always delicious scenery as: “This journey to the next realm brought to you by Tata Motors. Tata, driving you toward the inner reaches of your soul!”
If you think I’m being silly, you just wait. You’ll hear this before 2090:
“This third and six brought to you by Tide. Tide, cleaning out the goal-line defense of your hard stains.”
While on my journey I naturally participated in the ever-present fiction known as air travel security. While seated before the departure gate along with two thousand of my best friends, I noticed that just a few seats over was a stack of suitcases and a baby stroller. All by themselves, unattended.
So what did I do? Nothing. I sat there. Now if that was a weaponized baby stroller I was so close they’d have picked up what was left of me using refined dental tools. But of course, the owners of said luggage were off getting themselves and their baby some water and showed up later, armageddon thus averted.
So why did I do nothing when the security and control bureaucracy demands that I immediately report the situation to my local enforcer? Well friends, here’s the kicker, and I want you to try this the next time you travel. Because chances are you already have, even if you didn’t notice.
Everybody does nothing.
People leave their luggage at the bar, in the bathroom, down by the newspaper kiosk, next to the cult religion display, with the creepy smiley guy, and so on.
The only person taking airport security seriously anymore is Satan. This is the reality of it.
Now granted, both the good & bad guys have decided to make the airways a battlefield. So there is that. I mean, why do the terrorists go through all the trouble to build an underwear bomb for months when an eighteen year old recruit with a $300 shotgun, which they could buy in almost any democracy today, could cause more damage in a shopping mall than all the airline attacks of the last decade? Each side has chosen this stupid insanity.
The real secret is that the bad guys lost. Friends, there will be an airline attack down the road. It’s going to happen, we’re all human. But the battle is over, good won. Your neighbor knows it. If he didn’t, he’d report that abandoned bag in the terminal, as I would have done.
In the meantime, where does that leave your friendly traveler? Well, I offer this. If by some miracle thirty years down the road we suffer no airport attacks, do you think your local airport security guys will lessen their burden? Of course not.
Once you hand over this level of power and control, it’s hard to get it back. Don’t blame the guards who will harass you over your shoes. Blame yourselves. In general, I firmly believe the employees of an organization will perform with the dedication and skill that is expected of them by their superiors. Today when the guards care so little of the “threat” they barely even notice you as you go through the checkpoint, you need only point a finger at yourself.
You wanted to be safe. In exchange you received it, now live with the consequences. As for me, I’m going with my gut. I’ll take the risk. I’m leaving this realm via dental tools & evidence bags before I’ll accept we’re done forever. I’ll take that risk, and that bet. My life is worth your freedom. I don’t mean to be an arrogant shit, right now at least, but if we all thought that way we’d be better off.
This Actually Happens