The TSA

Nov. 17th, 2010 08:54 pm
hypatia_eidos: Portrait of Hypatia (Default)
[personal profile] hypatia_eidos
I'm giving in to terror. I am deeply, deeply terrified of the new TSA procedures, and I'm not flying. I'm not flying home for the holidays to see my family, and I'm probably not flying out to Wiscon, and I'm certainly not flying to go see my childhood friends at our annual reunion. I'll try to drive to a wedding in June, even though it will be huge waste of time & fuel. This makes me sad, and angry, because I know what I'm doing. I know that I am letting other people take the burden of objecting to these terrible, disgusting, pointless policies, rather than going and being difficult myself.

Last night, running on weeks of sleep deprivation (when I'm stressed, I sleep for about five hours a night, and stress can go on for months) I called my parents to explain to them why I wouldn't see them in a month's time. "If money is an issue, we can help," they said, kindly, and I wanted to cry. "It's just creepy," I told them. "I don't want to deal with it," I told them. "Everyone has to undergo this stuff, and we know for a fact that the TSA has lied about saving some photos, and about the clarity of images. And everyone does this- so parents have a choice of letting their children be photographed naked or be embarrassed and groped in public? That's crazy." I told them. "I don't want to think about about," said my mother, and she sounded very tired and worn. "But honey, flying is so much fun, anyways- fat people like us get treated with so much respect, and there's so little time wasted, and you feel so safe and comfortable the whole time." At least when my mother told me this, she had her usual sarcasm back.

I feel guilty. Few people who live several thousand miles from their families have the luxury of a) being able to afford airfare, b) families that want to see them, and c) families that want to see them so bad that they will cover the cost of said airfare, plus any other problems. But I am tired, and I hate travel, anyways, which means that doing something else unpleasant is a real deal-breaker.

Some friends have suggested I take the train. The problem, of course, is that it would be a thirty-six hour trip by train (as opposed to a 12 hour trip by plane) and once you add on the cost of a sleeper car (because if I'm going to be asleep for the whole night while traveling alone, instead of just cat-napping, I'd really like a vertical surface and a door which locks) it comes out to over a grand for the round trip, and even without the chance to lie down and sleep (I go without sleep for a day and a half, sometimes!) it still is significantly more than airfare. Enough to make me think twice about traveling. In other words, thanks for the helpful suggestions, guys, but the train is just not that feasible an option.

Now, I'm not arguing that flying is a right. I am not entitled to fly. However, I am arguing that changing these policies is abusive partly because the game has been changed on people, making air travel more consistently frightening. I moved out here in good faith; I moved while trusting that I would be able to see my family again with more or less the same convenience that I had when I moved. And yes, that convenience has lessened somewhat, and yes, I can cope with that- I am not against airlines trying to squeeze every last possible penny out of their flights and their passengers, per se, though I find it annoying. I am, however, against a government bullying its citizens, and I would go so far as to say that citizens do have a right to not be bullied.

(Also: Apparently this is a thing, now. I didn't know that when I made the decision not to travel.)
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