Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Feeling Home

I have been home for four days now, and I have rested, played a game or two of Scrabble with James, and made my way to "town" for a cup of coffee, a look around, and a sampling of the good feeling that comes with familiarity and sameness. Things are "where I left them" for the most part ... for the most part, but not entirely. I stopped at a "new" local coffee shop and had to show picture I.D. when I used a credit card for payment. I asked "Why?" and the clerk explained that it was for my own protection. I asked against whom she believed herself to be protecting me, and she said "all those folks who want to steal your identity." She went on to say that she didn't like the idea much herself, but she was willing to put up with the intrusion if it meant a safer place to live. Her co-worker offered that the practice was recently mandated by city ordinance; no "bogus" charges could be prosecuted if a picture I.D. had not been requested of the user. In support she added, "at least we know if you're American," and I wondered how the combination of my Visa card and Purdue student I.D. gave her that information. I left the coffee and headed over to my usual hangout ... better service, better java, but the day wasn't over. I stopped by the Social Security office to replace a lost card. No problem, I thought ... in and out, one of four free cards in a lifetime, and there might be a friendly face I haven't seen in a while. I was greeted, instead, by an armed guard. At the Social Security office? I didn't understand, and my questions of "why?" were met with silence. Silence, really. I didn't understand, and it didn't feel good.

A line from the quirky 2001 movie, Ghost World, wanted to come to mind ... "It's America, Dude. Learn the rules," but the rules had changed, even here, at home, where things had always before remained "in place." Whatever this America was, it didn't seem to be the one I almost remembered ... not quite, not today, but...

This was only one day, right? There would be others. Right?

UPDATE: Call it serendipity, but just after posting this writing I stopped by onegoodmove and caught a video snippet from Norm that followed this writing perfectly for me. Norm suggests it might be on the "melodramatic" side, but Alan Stone, the Boston Legal attorney (Spader), captures a bit of sentiment I needed to hear today. Click here to listen/watch.

#2 UPDATE: And now this from CBS News ... "
For the first time since 1817, U.S. Coast Guard vessels on the Great Lakes are being outfitted with weapons - machine-guns capable of firing 600 bullets a minute." We need machines guns on the the Great Lakes? Make the madness stop!

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