It seems as if we are constantly being reminded of how dangerous this world is, what with bomb scares and airport scanners that render us all guilty until proven innocent. This results in a climate of fear which I find tragic. I feel I live in place far away from the life depicted on television and in the daily news. Like a split screen or the case of the one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing, it’s a kind of schizophrenic existence that we live in, one part in distant places, dark, shadowy and foreboding, and the other, here, where we live, a place of light, where we often don’t even lock our doors, where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. In pursuit of our security, we are being made to feel extremely insecure.
Some time ago, an elderly friend of mine was at the airport to fly to Los Angeles to visit her son. In her haste to board the plane, she bolted from the ladies room and left her purse in the stall. Once she was in the air and realized what she’d done, efforts were made but no one could locate her purse. Or so it seemed. Weeks later she had a call from the LA bomb squad who had what she had lost. They explained to her that her purse had been reported as a “suspicious object” and had been carted away in a specially contained vehicle. Eventually she was reunited with her purse and almost everything in it (missing were the orange-colored peanut butter crackers she had packed as a snack. The squad suspected they might be the orange explosive, plastique). Since then, we have had fun telling that seemingly ridiculous story, especially because her purse was hardly new and not exactly stylish. I even told the story in an address I gave to a graduating class, apologizing to these seniors that they had to grow up in a world like this. Needless to say, things have only gotten worse since then.
A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a friend at a small caf