So I flew to Utah to attend my niece's baptism. No one knew I was coming except my mom, so it was really fun to see how surprised people were by my coming. I also surprised some friends as well who didn't know I'd be in town (and told three more friends that I've come out of the closet; again, nothing but support and love all around). My brother and sister-in-law were extremely touched that I flew down. However, my main reason for writing today is to talk about airport security.
I have not flown since the week of September 11, 2001; nothing to do with a fear of flying or being attacked or anything like that; I simply haven't had the time, money, or opportunities for air travel in the five years since 9/11 occurred. I do keep abreast of the news, so I certainly am aware of all the changes that have occurred in airport security since I last flew (and by the way, the last time I flew I was taken off the plane and interrogated by the crew for about 25 minutes because they thought I might be a threat to the flight, but that is a story for another time). In any case, I had not experienced any of these changes in security firsthand until Friday, and, quite frankly, I was just sort of struck by the absurdity of it all. Please don't misunderstand me; I certainly understand how many innocent lives were taken on that tragic day and that the safety measures that are in play are there to protect us and to prevent something equally awful from occurring again, but as I was waiting in the long line to go through security, it just felt like so many of the the things that are being done are a knee-jerk overreaction to what has occurred and, on some level, feels like a way of giving the illusion that we are safer than we were five years ago when, in fact, we are only more inconvenienced.
When I went to the airport, I made sure to leave my pocketknife at home and put all my gels and liquids in the bag I checked rather than my carry-on. Of course, the security line was long, and I had to show ID and my boarding pass to get through, which, of course, wasn't something I had to do five years ago. That made sense to me. I was slightly amused by the sign at the airport that had pictures of scissors, a pocketknife, a gun, and a cartoon bomb (you know, the kind that looks like a bowling ball with a fuse in it) crossed out with red Xs to let us know we couldn't bring those items beyond that point. I can see inadvertently bringing a pair of scissors or a pocketknife and even possibly a gun, but I think anybody who's got a bomb on them (especially one that looks like it belongs in a Bugs Bunny cartoon) probably brought it intentionally, and that warning sign probably isn't going to deter them any. It's not like anybody's saying, "Oh, my gosh, honey, I forgot all about this bomb in my purse."
And then, of course, I've read about the "taking off of the shoes," but as I looked at the people ahead of me in line removing their shoes, I thought to myself, "Are we really doing this?" Of course, I took off my shoes and jacket and placed them on the conveyor belt with my carry-on (but not my belt, even though other people were removing theirs; I thought, "If they need me to remove my belt, they'll let me know." But as I went through the metal detector (but not an x-ray at this particular airport), I thought, "How do they know I don't have an envelope of anthrax in my pocket or a carved ivory knife duct taped to my thigh?" They don't.
My point is this: if a terrorist wants to wreak havoc, they will fnd a way to get through. I thought of at least four ways I could diable somebody on a plane that these particular security measures were helpless in preventing. It just bothers me that because a terrorist brings a shoe bomb on board, we now all have to remove our shoes or because a toxic liquid has been brought on board, we're now pretty much exempt from bringing toothpaste, lotion, or bottled water on board. Again, don't misunderstand me; I'm not trying to minimize the good that those security measures do. I'm just saying that a lot of it seems like a facade to me especially since those measures aren't even consistent from airport to airport. And when you think of all the attention we focus on airports and realize all the other ways a terrorist can wreak havoc that aren't even being dealt with, it just makes homeland security seem like a big joke.
But maybe we are safer. I guess I was just struck by it. It just felt silly and absurd on some level. I'm sure there are many out there that disagree with me, and that's fine. I'm not even entirely sure how I feel about it myself. It just was such a different world from the last time I flew. But it didn't strike me particularly as being any safer; just slightly ridiculous and slightly more inconvenient. I'll probably get some flak for thinking so, but it was just my general impression.
In other news, when my brother called me to express his gratefulness that I was able to come to his daughter's baptism, I expressed that I was sorry I wasn't able to stand in the circle to confirm her, and he was very nice about it. I sat between my mom and sister at sacrament meeting today and, of course, didn't take the sacrament. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm happy that even though much is unsaid, it is clear to my family that I am in this relationship with Jonah. My mom said to say hi to him when I returned and to ask him about Dancing With The Stars, a show they both enjoy. I'm so happy my mom makes a real effort to treat Jonah the way she treats my sister-in-law or brother-in-law. She knows how important he is to me and how happy he makes me and tries to make him a part of her life, and that means a lot.
In church today, in Sunday School, there was a quote about doing the best you can and doing all you can do, and I felt that under my given circumstances that I am doing the best I can and that God is okay with that. Just because I am in a gay relationship doesn't mean I can't still be a good person and serve others and be a good example in certain ways, and that gives me comfort.
Jonah and I spent some time together today, and I just felt such a strong, intense love for him. I just love him so much and am so happy with him. He has truly changed my life...for the better, I feel.
Anyway, that's my post for today. Hope all of you in blogland are well, whatever your situations or goals.