Sunday, January 07, 2018

On airports

Airports are checkpoints essentially. When I don't get patted down, I am relieved and always incredibly surprised. Because pretty much almost all of the time, that is what happens. I get examined. And I feel that recently, these "pat-downs" have gotten worse and much more invasive.

Is it better to not go through that stupid x-ray machine that examines every nook and cranny? I just do it, because if I don't I know that I'd only get more harassment, and delays.

So I go through the machine and almost every time I am not allowed to proceed. I've learned to look behind me, at the screen next to the fugly and massive machine that scanned my whole body, to see what my so-called problematic areas are. Before it'd be my head getting patted down. Now it always seems to be my legs and crotch area.

I had had enough. I did not want to be touched there by them. Yet again. The agent explaining where they would touch me and how, did not make it any better of course. I kept protesting.

"There's nothing there. It's a jean zipper. That's it. And there's nothing in my pockets".
"Ma'am if you don't cooperate, I'm getting my supervisor".

I knew what that meant. So I backed down, and then said no to a private screening. I just wanted the whole idiotic thing to be over. Yes, it is humiliating to be examined like that publicly. And it's gross. And infuriating. But in my mind, a private screening would just amplify it all.

WTF do they expect to find down there?

It is a violation. It's happened so much that I immediately block it out right away, and don't really think or talk about it.

But these painful flashbacks occur every now and then, at inopportune times - like right now. What's worse is feeling that there's nothing I can do to reclaim my humanity, my dignity, in these moments. To make these moments stop.

Sometimes, usually right after I've landed or once I'm at my destination, I wonder if the TSA agent that violated me earlier that day, remembers me and realizes that there is no news report of something going wrong in the skies, and I wonder if they realize that I, the person they violated, wasn't a threat at all. And I wonder how many times this must happen in a day. Such is the thinking of an oppressed mind.

And then I block it all out again.

Part of me wants to do an experiment, of going through airport security without hijab, to see if all of this same bullshit happens, or not. And then part of me thinks, that I shouldn't have to do such an experiment.