Well maybe not a suitcase…small carry on bag actually. I travel light. VERY light. I always take just what I need. Always make sure I have access to a washer and dryer. Do laundry every few days. This way I can take enough clothes for 5 days and stretch them out over the course of four to six weeks depending on the length of my stay. I’m phobic about checking bags. Last time I checked a bag was 1989. Makes my life in transit SO much simpler in all respects but one. I’m always dealt with like a potential terrorist. Airline officials can’t for the life of them imagine how it’s possible for me to be abroad for that length of time and have what I need in my small bag. It’s got to be explosives, I’ve got to be planning a suicide attack, or at the very least creating a disturbance of some sort. So I have nice chats with the plastic gloved security officers who pat me down and rummage through my bag prior to boarding. Even though both my bag and body have been thoroughly screened before getting anywhere near the gate. Thankfully I’m a patient man, and genuinely grateful for any and all procedures meant to make travel safer. And to be perfectly honest it reminds me of just how many people in this world find themselves unfairly scrutinized because of clothing, ethnicity, beliefs, persuasions, etc. I mean, why shouldn’t I be singled out? Why wouldn’t I be profiled? Shoot, we’re all profiled people. Profiling is just another way of saying “labeling” or “categorizing”. Our favorite international pastime. Which profiled people receive the more intensive, intrusive, aggressive forms of scrutiny depends on who is perceived as the greatest potential threat at any given moment. But the pendulum swings. Far too slowly for some, far too quickly for others. But it does swing. Yes indeedy. When I’m being profiled, singled out, pulled out of line, dealt with like the threat I probably am to somebody somewhere in the world, it’s interesting to watch the eyes of the ones who haven’t been. Some reflect sympathy, some relief, some fear, some scorn. I remain calm, the picture of tranquility. Smiling. Respectful. I always thank the officer who has just performed his/her duty, and am 99% of the time thanked as well. And yet…I vividly recall an incident several years back…an old woman screaming as she and her husband were ushered to the additional security area. Her husband in his quiet, stately manner trying unsuccessfully to soothe her. In her behavior I sensed a woman with a history. A history filled with check points. Of profiled people who never made it to their desired destinations. Remanded into a custody they’d never escape. Her wild eyes reflected burning. She, was burning. A veritable fire, raging. To her there was absolutely nothing “random” about this selection process. The energy in the holding area was palpable. I’m surprised someone didn’t scream, “Kill the bitch!” Because that’s what people wanted. Her silenced. Silence. In her life…in far too many of our lives…silence has in fact equaled death…so she refused. Fuck the person just doing his job. Fuck everybody standing around, watching, grateful not to be her. She would NOT go gently…they would have to take her kicking and screaming. Civil liberties. Freedom. Security. Liberty and justice for all. Sir…madam…would you please step this way?