I finally got my bags checked going into the subway. It was at Union Square a little after 6:30 pm. I had just seen “Children of Men” (review to come) and if ever I was in a mood to fight the Man against his fascist invasions it was gonna be while this movie was still ringing in my ears. But here’s what happened.
A young Chinese-American cop who looked about seventeen years old smiles at me sheepishly.
“Hi, sir. You mind stepping over here to let the officer check your bag?”
That’s the way he did it. He asked me if I minded. How’m I gonna get all agitated about that? I smiled back at him. “I’m gettin’ zapped?!?” I asked. I don’t know why the term “zapped” came out of my mouth, but it did. He chuckled and said, “yep, you know, random . . .”
I started walking to the table. Then I remembered that I had told myself that if I was ever subjected to this random search I would state, loudly and proudly, that I choose not to ride the subway. Because ever since day one of this program they’ve always said that those who don’t want the search are free to turn around and leave without the search and not face any repercussions. And it’d be pretty easy for me to walk up to 23rd st. from 17th and get the next train. So was I ready to make my stink? As I swore I would? (Remember, I’d just seen as scathing a film about the slippery slope to fascism as you are ever likely to see.)
I went to the table. ‘Cause the first cop. . .he just seemed so nice. I know — a man in a dark uniform holding a gun telling me what to do seemed . . .nice??? Somehow, he did.
At the table I looked at the bag inspector. Again, he looked seventeen years old. I shrugged my shoulders and said, in a goofy voice, “I got zapped!”
He smiled and said something on the order of, “Yeah, whattayagonnado.”
He looked in my bag for about 1.2 seconds, didn’t move the scarf that I had laying on top which obscured my iPod (which, if TV shows are correct, are about the size of the bombs the terrorists are coming to kill us with) and said, “Okay, thank you.”
And that was it.
And then I realized that the first cop probably picked me because I didn’t have a backpack — I had a tote bag. And open tote bag — meaning it would make it much easier on me (and his colleague) to press me through. Because these guys know, I mean, they have to know that this random half-assed bag check ain’t doing squat to actually secure our subways. Does anybody really think that it does? I can say that it wasn’t very painful. And far less invasive than going to visit the Statue of Liberty or enter the Museum of Native American Art where you have to take off your belt.