Back in the golden state

I’m happy to be back in northern California, land of quality coffee, smiling people, and clear skies. To my relief, the journey home was free of any trouble or unwanted encounters, although I did get lectured by a TSA agent, who scolded me for complaining about the nude scanners.

I said the machines were degrading, embarrassing, and an excuse to humiliate people. Passengers have to stand inside the awful contraptions for more than 30 seconds now, and there is no reason for the process to take so long. The last time I grudgingly used one of the things, the airport employee made suggestive comments and behaved in an incredibly unprofessional manner.

So, when I was told I needed to walk through the new scanner, I said I found the inventions to be degrading.

At that, one of the male workers instructed me to walk through the old security scans. After I did that, he pulled me aside for a pep talk.

“Let me give you some advice. Don’t ever refuse the full body scanners. If you say something like you just did, we will be forced to give you the pat down, and trust me, you are not going to enjoy the experience,” he said. “So next time you fly, please, please, please don’t say those kind of things.”

I nodded my head, listening further and smiling to myself at the incident, which was reminiscent of the grown-up talking-to’s I constantly got in elementary school. I wasn’t a bad kid, nor was I wrong yesterday to speak up about my discomforts. The scanners are embarrassing to use. I’d understand their importance if the new system was enforced on all ticketed travelers, but it isn’t.

All is well in sunny California. Yesterday, I visited with my brother, his wife, and their two boys, both of whom cracked me up as always.

Sawyer, who is four years old, said to me, “Do you speak Chinese?”

“No, why do you ask?”

“Well, don’t you live in China?”

I’m not sure where he came up with that, but it gave me something to giggle about.

Later on, I put him and his little brother Lukey in the shower. Naturally, they didn’t want to leave the hot water when I said it was time for them to get dressed. Lukey cooperated without much effort, but Sawyer was more of a challenge.

“If you pull me out of here, I am going to hit you with this sponge,” Sawyer said.

“No you won’t,” I assured him.

“Yes I will!” he said.

“And how do you think that would make me feel?” I asked, confusing him.

After a few seconds of pause, he replied, “Whatttttt??????”

That did the trick! I loved running around with the boys, even though they butted heads with each other every time I looked away. Lukey, who just turned three, takes after me. We are both the youngest of all our siblings, good natured and well meaning, but dramatic people and picky eaters. He refused to finish half of his granola bar when it fell onto the couch because he assumed his food had been contaminated. I pulled this nonsense all time during childhood, so I can understand his unusual perspective. Up until age 10, I refused to eat at restaurant tables that had gum stuck to the bottom of them. This drove my family members off the wall, but I insisted that I was so disgusted by all the leftover gum pieces that I couldn’t possibly enjoy my meal. No wonder I was such a skinny little girl!

After complaining for another five minutes, Lukey accidentally dropped the cereal bar onto the ground. Within seconds, my brother’s Labrador, Chico gobbled everything up. This made Lukey cry, but I reminded him that he hadn’t wanted the tainted food anyway.

I read the kids a book before it was time for them to go to bed. Sawyer went to sleep without putting up a fight. Lukey, on the other hand, had no interest in getting shut eye. Instead he said, “I just want you to stay here with me for two weeks, Aunt Lala.” That boy is quite the charmer!

I’m going to get my eyes checked today, and I’m quite nervous about the appointment. I haven’t seen the optometrist since junior high, which was long before my days of intense internet usage. Now that I’m working in online news, I’m sure my vision is no longer 20/20. My good buddy, Crystal is currently in optometry college, so I wish she could just take a look at my eyes, but my doctor choice will not change my health status. I would probably just feel better if my best friend delivered bad news rather than a doctor with whom I’m unfamiliar.


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