belt and boots

it felt a bit strange to be doing this in a crowded room, but people were looking at me expectantly so i took off my belt. then i took off my boots and shrugged out of my jacket. i'd already relinquished my mobile phone, keys, wallet... now i was walking around in a crowded area without several items i take for granted. i felt surprisingly naked, vulnerable.

but that's what happens now when the airport metal detector beeps. i don't know what it is; but even back in the Old Days before terrorism became a daily thought, the airport metal detector would always find something to object to. when i was in high school it was my super-chunky watch. my belt has a big metal buckle so i wasn't particularly surprised about that.

but my boots? well ok, so i wear Mack (as in truck) boots... but not the steel cap version (i'll be getting those next time though). really they're just hardcore work/hiking boots, the only metal is the lacing eyelets/loops. that was enough to set off the metal detectors.

paranoid much? well, yes. but these days we have to assume that they are out to get us.

nobody really complained. they grumbled at the inconvenience but accepted it. hell, this was only my second time through the process in many years but i went straight into the routine without question.

i can't think of any other situation where i would - without question - hand over my bag, phone, wallet and keys. much less follow that up by removing my belt and boots. these people hadn't done a damn thing to earn my trust yet here i was walking around in my socks being thankful i hadn't worn baggier pants. fuck knows what reaction i'd get in winter, rocking up in a trenchcoat.

this really is crazy. i know we live in a world that no longer seems so big; but events on the other side of the world should not have some effects. things like... my superannuation fund lost money because some zealots flew planes into buildings in america. people think i'm weird for wearing a trenchcoat because some kids in america went crazy and shot some other kids. the bali bombers are being sentenced to death and we have some rugby games coming up, so i'm walking around the airport hoping my pants don't fall off because i had to remove my belt.

belt and boots, sir. the world isn't safe any more.

maybe the world was never safe and we'd just got proverbially fat and blind, too comfortable in our way of life. so life wasn't meant to be easy? ok, actually i can accept that. but i lament the fact that people are still killing each other over their name for "god". shit, people; it's after The Year Two Thousand™... we're living in The Future™ now. could we try to forgive the past?

could humans just draw a clean slate and start over? agree to worship what you want and leave the next guy alone to do the same?

sadly humans will only ever come together as one if aliens arrive and attack us. only a common enemy will make humans stop hating each other. we find stupid differences in each other and waste our time hating them; using vast amounts of energy that could otherwise advance our lives.

entire countries ruin each other over emnity maintained for centuries. retaliation follows retaliation until nobody really knows why they're fighting anymore; but they've been fighting too hard to stop now. each nation loses its children to wars, each nation suffers soft target terrorism.

we're seeing suicide bombing attacks in the middle east undoing years of painstaking work towards peace. for a while it almost looked like nations would maintain their ceasefires and let their children grow up without fear. religion could become something to live by, for people to have faith in... instead of being a reason to die.

at the end of the day i have to be grateful for what i have. i personally do not live in the warzones that sadden me. ultimately they are just news reports i read on my couch or in my cubicle. i have no real concept what it is like for the people involved; even if i can wish they could have peace.

i can wish for a peaceful world but i cannot make it happen. i have to float with the current and hope for good fortune.

so i don't complain. i take off my belt and boots.

2003.10.07

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