Wine and Murder

I consider myself a pretty sophisticated traveler by now.  I have left the continent, have gone to 3rd world countries.  I have been to Hawaii 3 times and around the US more times than I can count.  Thus this trip with my sister-in-law and her sister was, as far as the actual travel portion, no big deal for me.  Except I made it one.  In my own defense, I wasn’t feeling well and the last task of sorting out my purse which should have happened the night before we left was left until the rush of the departure morning.  I grabbed my pertinent identification and the all critical dairy pills and left the house.  It wasn’t until we were standing in line ready to hand our boarding passes to the TSA  man that I noticed I had grabbed my expired drivers license.  To answer the question that keeps coming up, they mail the new ones to you so you don’t have to turn the old in anymore.  The gentleman, such a nice man, sent me on through without a word.  After much discussion about getting the other one fed-exed to our hotel in NYC, I googled it and saw that I could fly with an expired ID because your identity doesn’t expire, only your ability to drive with that license.  We had a great week.

Early morning trip to LaGuardia, too empty for the TSA to sweep me through.  Brussels attack had raised security.  My ID was flagged immediately.  Fortunately I had several other forms of identification and knew from reading what my rights were.  They didn’t care. I was pulled to the side and told to wait until someone was free to deal with a troublemaker like me.  At least that is what I heard.  I waited at least 20 minutes.  I couldn’t complain since it was clearly my fault.  Did I mention that you can fly on an expired if it is less than a year old?  Mine was up in January.  Double hit.

Finally someone came to address my situation, look me over and determine I needed extra screening.  They sent me ahead of everyone else through the X-ray machine and found the lighter I had in my pocket.  Don’t judge, yes I may have started smoking again.  No I didn’t check my pockets at any time during that 20 minute wait.  Yes I did say bad words to my self.  Out of the machine, lighter out of pocket try again.  They are getting pretty over me by now.

My carryons ride through the belt scanner and I reach for them on the other side only to be  immediately chastised.  Nope, not done with you yet missy.  The agent reminded me they had my boarding pass.  Then came 20 more minutes of wait.  All the other well-documented travelers went by and I was in the way, like the bad kid in school made to stand by the teacher’s desk.  Finally they had done enough checking me that they could do the second pat down and swipe my bags with the bomb tape. I had a huge sweater on so I offered to take that off, trying to be helpful and accommodating, showing I had nothing to hide.  As I was pulling it over my head, I remembered I had put on that silly shirt I ordered years ago off the internet.  Just a joke.  So silly.  Please God let me on the plane.

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I did make it home.

Flags of Friendship

Spending 4 days in New York City where my white skin, my mid-western accent was not common place did little to sway me to positions of Mr. Trump or any other GOP candidates.  The true diversity of cultures as we toured the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island ferry was not lost on me.  Listening to so many different languages whispered as we slowly walked to exhibit after exhibit through the 9/11 memorial showed me the respect others have for our country, even if right now that respect is not reciprocated.  I kept remembering how this great city led the nation in embracing our neighbors after the tragedy that hit us all on that day, how we rejected fear.  Yet Mr. Trump calls for a nation of haters and cowards, forgetting our better selves.  This is not who we are, who I met in NYC.  As Brussels was attacked at the beginning of our trip, security was tightened but generosity and hospitality remained.  I watched as strangers tapped distracted tourists, telling them they dropped a boarding pass, their metro cared had fallen, their credit card was sticking out of their pocket. I am ashamed to say that I experience more racism and judgment here in the Midwest than I did in this large city,which used to be known for rudeness and a certain lack of concern for strangers.

As I looked at the flags fluttering in the wind, as the skaters took advantage of the last days of the Rockefeller rink, I couldn’t help but consider that Trump Plaza was only blocks away.  This man wants to put a wall up and yet millions of people come to this city daily to experience the culture, eat the food, celebrate Lady Liberty.  How in God’s name can this man be succeeding in his message?  Just as when I went to Epcot and spoke with folks from Europe who were clearly appalled, I don’t have the answer.  I just know I don’t ever want to visit a museum showing flags that used to fly with such pride.