Friday, November 19, 2010

Airport rant and just taking a peek ...

... at my little Nanowrimo counter thingy. Two red squares indicate I didn't write anything that day. The yellow squares show the days I didn't meet the daily word count of 1667. But what it doesn't show is that on the green days, I often wrote way more than I had to. And that's why I'm still ahead by a day.

My lead got as much as four days, but I've taken a few mental health breaks here and there. But I'm pleased to announce that I have enough planned so that I won't finish the story before I've reached 50k. I've heard of that happening to others, but I wanted to make sure it didn't happen to me.

In other news, I believe I can officially say I've been sick four times this year. On Tuesday we had some of the biggest, coldest winds I've seen yet. It froze me, so now I have a bit of throat irritation. I would have written it off as not being sick, except the irritation was accompanied by huge tonsils. But I've busted out my thermals, and taking good care of myself, so I think this one will be short lived. Our neighbor across the street even said he and his wife are sick of the winds and are looking at moving to Idaho or something. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought of the same thing myself. Especially lately.

I've been very disturbed with the news about airports and the invasive techniques they use in the name of security. It basically boils down to having naked pictures taken of myself (over which I have no control of what happens to the photos afterwards), or having strangers' hands put on my body in places only my husband is allowed to go, and only with my permission. If it were anyone else, it would be sexual harassment or worse. And were does it stop? Pretty soon they'll have to hire doctors to be TSA agents if this goes to the next step, "I can give you a prostate check or a pap smear while we check you for contraband!"

In the lower 48, it's much easier to boycott the airlines. Unless you're planning on driving across the country, most of America is reachable within a couple of days' driving. But in Alaska, unless you want to spend five to seven days driving through a foreign country, you don't have many options. I usually take a week long vacation - two days traveling, and five days visiting family. If I tried the Alaska Marine Highway (ferrying from Seward or wherever to Washington) that will still be three to five days traveling because they're more sightseeing and not direct travel. And I'd have to change ferries in southernmost Alaska. And that's just to get me to Washington. Would still take a day or two getting to my family.

Other options: see if I can hire a private plane to fly me. Have no idea how much that could cost. Or I could get my own pilot's license and fly myself. While tempting (I'm sure it would save a lot of flying money over the long run), I'm not confident enough to take on such a feat. I hate heights. And driving is scary enough.

So far, it doesn't look like Sacramento or Anchorage have the body scanners, but websites have been known to wrong. And even if they don't have the scanners, what's to stop them from doing the advanced pat-downs everyone is screaming about? Just because I've never received one of their random checks doesn't mean it won't ever happen.

As a martial artist and a woman traveling alone, I can't accept the idea of a stranger, man or woman, touching me in the ways I've read about. I'm trained to keep that kind of thing from happening, and it's just plain wrong.

So does that mean I'm stuck here unless I want to try to take longer vacations? Most of the time I can't do that. And if living here means I can't see my family without getting violated, it's not worth it.

I fully admit I may be overreacting. But it doesn't seem very likely.


Matthew said...

You're not alone; I haven't flown since 1999. I don't like flying as it is, and every one of these boneheaded "security" measures gives me one more reason not to. Give it a few more years and I think flying will be like it was when it first started, something rare and exotic that mostly businessmen and VIP's do.

Matthew said...

And another thing: sick FOUR TIMES THIS YEAR?! Heather, you are going to lose your singing voice if this keeps up. I know you and Logan don't want to give in to the El Dorado Curse, but this is serious.