Current Location: Boyne City Motel, Boyne City, MI, The United States of America
Price of beer in a bar: I just got here
Song currently stuck in my head: I’m Ready (The Twilight Singers)
A funny thing happen to me on my way to The US. I cleared customs at ATL and they were forcing American Citizens who had cleared customs to pass through a security checkpoint in order to leave the airport. I’m pretty sure that isn’t legal. One of the ways the TSA was able to build up as much power as they have is by emphasizing that these security checkpoints are voluntary. You can always opt not to fly, turn around and leave the way you came. Here we have a situation where people were being told there was simply no other option. I’ve dealt with the TSA often and most of the employees that you encounter at an airport are incompetent power tripping assholes, though the supervisors (of whom I’ve met more than a few) are generally professional, courteous and helpful. I didn’t take the time to discuss this with a supervisor, though I wish I had. I’m left with a lot of questions. I investigated a little online and it turns out I’m lucky I didn’t grab the duty free bottle of Nicaraguan Rum that was on offer at PTY; the ATL TSA agents have a habit of confiscating unopened, duty free rum, even if it was purchased in a secure area in the airport and even if your not flying anywhere from there.
As you might have noticed, I’m taking a quick break from warmer climes to commiserate with my less meteorologically fortunate family. They’ve turned the tables somewhat, though, as the weather up here near the Upper Peninsula is gorgeous right now. I’m staying at The Boyne City Motel (astute readers will remember this from earlier when I wrote it in the title above), ostensibly to attend The Morel Festival but mostly because my father likes to fish this lake. After last year’s weak harvest, folks are excited about the predicted bumper crop of fungi dotted about the local forests and fields.
Being back in The US creates a fog that can take days to get used to. For one thing you can suddenly understand everything around you (since it’s not in Spanish). Whether it’s overheard conversations or billboards, you have to recalibrate your focus because of the new found accessibility of distractions. But it’s not just the English, there’s so much more distraction here. Just trying to order a fast food burger is a bewildering array of large static signs, video screens, small paper signs with additional deals, scraps of paper stuck to the cash registers further explaining what is and is not available… Jesus, not even the employees have any idea what all of it amounts to. I should know, I asked. I order #13 and they say “medium or large?” I don’t know, whichever one the price listed for #13 refers to. They don’t know which size that is. It’s surprisingly common to wander into similar clusterfucks for the smallest transactions and when you ask the people around you they have no idea. They just shove money into the hand of the high schooler behind the register when she tells them to and trust that this corporation/franchisee/minimum wager has everything under control (including, it seems, them).