By the time I got to the airport on Monday I was exhausted from the long activity packed weekend, rain, and search for a cab. I expected security to be more stringent than normal after the near miss in Times Square on Saturday night. I had been there around 4:30 PM and and a bit after One AM and hadn’t noticed anything amiss.
I was totally spacey Monday morning as I stood on the security line. In the summer of 2001 I had bought a pair of clogs that have Botticelli’s angels on them. They were pretty and different. I didn’t know they would become my designated airport shoes–first because I thought it was clever/cute to walk on the wings of angels. Then for all the reasons people would wear clogs with angels after 9/11. Maybe they did have special powers. Sure. Definitely because they’re easy to slide on and off.
The man in front of me had coarse gray hair tied into a messy ponytail. (Love long hair on men as long as it’s neat and this was the opposite.) I stared at his beige tee shirt. For a few seconds I thought the beautiful lettering was advertising a new drink company. “NJ teaparty…” Then I woke up. I live in the South and have never seen a teaparty tee shirt. The writing underneath said “save the country from tyranny.” It was a beautiful shirt. Retro looking as if it were advertising a late 60’s rock concert. Not a concert I would want to go to or a tee I would want to wear.
I felt physically sick. He was with a much a younger boy who would probably set the alarms off from all piercings he had. Maybe not but I’m too or something to appreciate pierced unkempt eyebrows. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so turned off had the eyebrows been tamed just a bit.
The older man turned to me and smiled: Going to Ohio?
Ohio?, I thought, oh today’s May 3, 2010. Tomorrow’s the 40th anniversary of Kent State. Please god if there is one don’t let this man be a former hippie going to mourn the deaths of four people I never met but have always felt a connection to.
There were National Guard stationed throughout the airport. I heard the man say to the boy: See them? You never saw them before Obama. It’s an infringement on our rights
I wanted to tell him what an idiot he was. And I was confused. Don’t Tea Party people like having military or quasi-military around? Aren’t they into national security and think Obama is screwing that up?
Had he never been to Penn Station? Manhattan in general? Airports for the last almost nine years? I remember seeing many more when Bush was president and never thought it a horrible thing.
I felt almost physically ill. Kent State and Tea Party people mixed together. Not in my America.
The National Guard went crazy in Kent State. Now they are troops, good people usually who don’t shoot just to kill Americans they disdain, and serve too many tours in wars I don’t understand. President Obama is trying to do something about that.
I changed lines to a faster one. Really I changed so I could get away from the man and boy. I didn’t want to spend the morning after a great weekend feeling sick. I did anyway.