Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Notes from an Airport, or, the Illusion of Security

I’ve just come down from my third production week in a row, and since this time around I was directing, not performing, I haven’t shaved, permitting the rebirth of the Lovecraftian nightmare that is my facial hair. I staggered out of bed this morning, hung over and bleary-eyed, and peered into the mirror, to find a scruffy, olive-skinned terrorist peering back at me.

Ah, the joys of airline travel! I suspect I can look forward to being randomly selected for any number of searches over the next forty-eight hours.

Number of signs have posted that we’re currently on an “orange alert.” I guess my main beef with the color-coded alert system — and, I suspect, the real source of much of the ridicule that’s been heaped upon it — is the fact that you can’t really *do* anything — you don’t go to shelter or cancel your flights or stay home from work. It ultimately ends up feeling like the government jumping out form behind the bushes and shouting “Someone’s trying to kill you! Booga booga booga!” then running away.

Y’know, as much as the romance of airplane travel has worn off for me over the years — am I crazy for actually liking airports? I never get lost, and I actually don’t mind getting stuck in them. They’re almost like self-sustaining mini-civilizations, and I find in them much of what I love about city life in microcosm: they’re crowded, expensive, everyone’s in a hurry to get somewhere, and you’re constantly weighting your likelihood of being shot.

I have a habit of running my hand along the rails of the moving walkways, and it always comes up coated in filth, the source of which is not to be contemplated. The one exception to this rule? Japan, where they apparently hire someone to wipe them down multiple times a day. I am adding this to my long list of Reasons Japan is Fucked the Hell Up.

It seems to me that among the greatest casualties of tightened airport security must be chick flicks. How are romantic comedies to end now, when the jilted lover, running to prevent the object of his desire from flying out of his life forever, is gunned down by a bevy of trigger-happy air marshalls?

Come to think of it, I’m hard-pressed to think of many such movies that wouldn’t be dramatically improved by this treatment, so perhaps it’s all to the good.

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