I have so much to say about my trip, but now that I’m back in the US, the most recent thing in my memory is the process of travelling back.
Nothing about Europe made me hate America, only coming back did. There wasn’t anything particularly seductive about Europe, nor did anyone there have anything inflammatory to say about the US. Rather, I would like to quickly point out the difference between entering foreign countries versus entering the US.
Our flight to Rome was quite long. Upon landing, we were quickly directed to one of several lines where our passports were stamped. After this, we picked up our baggage and went about our business. The procedure was even simpler when exiting the cruise ship, but the whole process is always expedited by the cruise line anyway, so I cannot say with much certainty how easy it would be to fly into Greece, Croatia or Turkey.
However, coming back to the states after a flight lasting over ten hours, we had to go through several, much longer sets of lines, including going through security again (as if we had not all just been herded from an airplane). Never mind the fact that we already went through US-level, take-your-shoes-off security in Rome. We also were given a form to fill out when on the plane.
The form for entering Rome asked basic information egarding swine flu symptoms and where we could be contacted in Rome should an outbreak potentially occur among fellow passengers. However, the US form was far more amusing.
Questions included whether we were transporting “disease agents, cell cultures, or snails.” How specific. The back of the form also mentioned that “Controlled substances, obscene articles, and toxic substances are generally prohibited entry.” I don’t know what they define as obscene articles, but I know for a fact America loves its controlled and toxic substances, often mixed together. Of course, we were allowed to bring wine, even though by any definition it is a controlled substance.
I just didn’t appreciate being sent through three times as many lines and searches when entering the US as I did in Rome, even though the US does not regulate its food, drugs or guns as tightly as Rome. I also hate the mentality that, “If you don’t have anything illegal, you don’t have anything to worry about.”
Really? You wouldn’t be embarrassed having someone go through your dirty underwear? How about perfectly legal porn, or even tampons? What about my ten inch pink dildo and anal lube? Privacy is not merely a curtain for criminal activity; some things are just best left hidden.
I don’t appreciate security theatre. The entire process is arduous and irritating for the sake of being arduous and irritating. They nitpick over insignificant things to give people the illusion of safety. The mind of the fool says, “Well, if they don’t let me bring on nail clippers, then clearly no one could bring a weapon.”
But it’s all an act, folks, a stage play meant to put our minds at ease. There is always the danger of someone hurting you; that’s life. We cannot just sacrifice our personal liberties, even though it is really about nothing more than mere convenience. I would sooner drop the bullshit just to save the people who missed their connecting flights from having to reschedule because I acknowledge we are no safer for it.
On another note, after a 10 hour flight from Rome in which a toddler cried the entire fucking time, I no longer consider child abuse a crime.
Well, I’m off to label and upload my 610 photos of our two week trip. And yes, I got pictures of John Bolton, standing in front of the Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens, no less.