As a frequent traveler, I have TSA PreCheck so I can breeze through security without taking off my shoes, leaving my computer in my bag and wearing my jacket.
Until today, I did not know they “randomly select” TSA PreCheck customers to go through regular security. As a result of my ignorance, this morning I found myself standing in a line with a bunch of well-meaning people carrying their possessions in trash bags, wearing their sports ball shirts and wrangling their kids while demonstrating a general lack of awareness of the basic procedures for going through security or breathing through their noses.
Meanwhile, I stare with the dead eyes of a predator at the TSA PreCheck line which is completely empty.
I went through through the five-stages of grief, consulted the iChing, hyper-ventilated and contemplated (only briefly) the consequences of trying to leap a four-foot Plexiglass security barrier.
I have been poisoned by entitlement.
A guy in front of me seemed to think he was being arrested because they told him to raise his hands in the scanner. I remove my shoes, as compliant as a sheep or a lemming. I raise my hands. I am disrobed. Beltless. Jacketless. My belongings in plastic bins festooned with advertisements.
Mysterious rays probe my very being.
My cuff links, a gift from my son and his wife, are examined with suspicion. Cleared, I gather my belongings and reassemble myself on a low bench. I am a free man once again.
I am, in fact, right in the middle of that walk. I used to do this when I was in college to clear my head before I went to sleep. Tonight, I put on a coat I got back when I managed a rock band. Whenever I put it on it makes me feel close to those guys and remember all we accomplished, and all we didn’t. I also put on a heavy black scarf I bought in China on a day so cold my face felt like it was going to break off. I poured a glass of the rum my wife and I brought back from Jamaica. I’m wearing a watch my brother gave me, a hat my children gave me, the Celtic warrior’s ring my wife gave me on our wedding day and a ring I bought in Italy in a little shop by the River Arno.
I just had a conversation with a coworker and read an email from my mother.
I’ve been listening to the album that David Bowie released shortly before his death. It is a work of stunning originality. The videos for the songs Blackstar and Lazarus are works of art in their own right. The dead man sings to me in the dark.
To a casual observer I’m a man walking alone in the dark.
From my perspective, quite a little crowd has gathered to walk with me.
I am enjoying their company.