as the holidaze descend my family, like so many others, makes plans to visit far-off family members. we have to figure out the means to get 4 bodies and all our stuff from here to there. this is no easy or cheap task because there are several hundreds of miles between here and there, so walking- as an option- is out.
driving, during the summer months, is possible; although my back and bottom hurt just to think about all of those hours sitting. when it comes to long road trips i strongly support the development of a mechanism that makes your vehicle stall after 6 hours of driving and will not allow you hit the road again until at least 12 hours have passed. of course, you could adjust these settings- these are just my preferences.
the last time we drove from here to there was when seren was 3 and his nephew was 6. (yes, i know the math is confusing- just trust me on this one). i was well-stocked with snacks, music, essential oil and a penguin puppet. the puppet saved my sanity. he waved to truckers, stuck his head out of the window like a dog and talked in a bad italian accent. i am sure that if we had not had the puppet i would have had more than one episode of screaming "get me the fuck out of this van NOW!" not my proudest moment. in any case, driving in the winter is not a good idea. i don't want to wind up in a cave in idaho and then months later be toeless.
the train- while romantic- is expensive and time consuming. i once rode the train from seattle to LA and i woke up in a car full of sleeping strangers- the smell of their stale breath hanging in the air right above their snores. ugh. definitely will need a cabin the next time. even if you take a train from here to there- you will wind up on a bus at some point. and a bus is just like a van except you cannot stop when the child starts to scream and claw at their carseat like it is burning into their soft flesh.
the only option left- until teleporting has the glitches worked out- is flying...on an airplane. for the 4 of us to travel it's about $1k. that blows my mind first off. i try not to think about that too much. next topic.
then there's all the packing stress which falls into two categories: what to bring on the plane and what to pack into the suitcase knowing that strangers will paw through it. guess the lace panties will stay home. at least the on-flight packing has been simplified. no liquids. which includes bubbles in case you were hoping to entertain your child in the airport by blowing bubbles. if you do somehow manage to forget you have the bubbles and wind up blowing bubbles all over and giggling as they land on the heads of sleeping people in LAX waiting for their flight to PDX, well, don't be surprised if a surly man comes over with his square hand extended and says...without a hint of a smile..."ma'am, you can't have those in here." bubbles are dangerous people. just know that.
this time around i have just recently learned that body scans are all the rage! someday, mark my words, these will wind up being a cool toys at all-night raves. i give kudos to the geek-genius who is getting rich off of this invention and somehow doing the jedi mind trick on the TSA guru to get him/her to sign up for these bad boys. basically it's an xray of your entire skin surface. which means it cannot detect if you have a stash of explosives up your wazoo but it can give a good indication if you are D cup. which are as dangerous as bubbles.
it wasn't until i was stocking sandalwood oil at the coop while NPR was broadcasting about body scans that i even knew this was a reality. i had heard about the possibility and foolishly disregarded it as too george orwellian to become truth. that man knew something we are still afraid to admit.
fortunately i have an option. i can present my body to be groped instead. here is my butt, my boobs, my crotch- go at it! i have been in enough mosh pits to have that desensitizing ability to strangers' hands on my privates. the only challenge for me will be resisting the strong urge to elbow and scream "fuck off asshole!" in response.
then there's my kids too. turns out kids cannot be scanned. why? well, because dr.frankinstein doesn't really know the long term effects of body scans. maybe that rash you can't explain is from your trip to florida to see aunt may. or maybe it isn't. we won't know because we are the experiments. call me "horsey" and put me in a change with timothy hay and pellets- guinea pigs- the whole lot of us. TSA knows this on some level- and so they don't want to scan the delicate children or the delicate pregnant women or the delicate women who may want to be pregnant some day or the delicate man who may want to impregnate a delicate woman so they can have a delicate child.
so if we are picked from the lots of travelers- and let's face it my husband is a long-haired brown and big native american who looks like a member of AIM with a last name that no one can pronounce correctly so we will be singled out- the pat down extends to my children too.
here's the rub (pun intended) i have always taught my boys this: we make the rules of our bodies. which means if i don't want to get hit in the face with ice cold water from your squirt gun you need to listen to me. why? because "i make the rules of my body." if you don't want to wear a hat even though it is raining out, ok. why? because "you make the rules of your body." of course, i tell them there are a very few times when your mom or dad or a doctor might need to do something to your body to help keep you safe and healthy. like when i make you spit out that plastic doll head you are chewing on. or if the doctor has to inadvertently gag you with a tongue depressor to look at your swollen tonsils. other than that- say it with me- "you make the rules of your body."
except when you travel via airplane in 2010. then you either get scanned by sci fi rays which hopefully don't do more than show off your naked body but you probably won't ever be able to link any health problem to your air travel- or you get pat down and felt up and completely embarrassed and confused by someone wearing a uniform who is endorsed by the government to do this thing to your body.
again i find myself in that place of mamaness that i abhor. that place where either option sucks. where my child will see my powerlessness. and if mama doesn't have power- than what does her 8 year old boy have? a crack in his fragile optimistic view of the world forms and splinters. a place where there are all these questions that i cannot answer. the "whys" are overwhelming at times.
so i will tell him this:
yes, this sucks.
it is completely wrong that our basic human rights- to make the rules of our bodies- is being ignored in the name of "national security" when many other countries have found ways to make air travel safe without the use of this type of invasion. (ok, that might be over his head- i need to rework this part).
i'm sorry that you have to go through this.
i'm sorry this is the world we live in right now.
son, you are strong and caring and clever. one day you will be an adult with all that and more. you'll have more influence than you have now. hold onto those skills. don't let your heart get too muddled or your brain too fuzzy.
we need you to be the change you wish to see in the world.