After Columbine, I home-schooled. After Virginia Tech, I got my degree on-line. After Aurora, I got my movie fix on TCM. After Clackamas Mall, I relied on Amazon. But, with the killings in Orlando, I reached the end of my tether and, though I grieved, I saw it was time to save myself.
I had to find a new place to live. Not Canada or Australia or Finland. I wouldn’t abandon my beloved country, but I needed a place where I could sleep and eat, read and write, exercise, and occasionally watch hockey games and Seinfeld re-runs, free of guns and the people who love them.
I considered, but rejected, a number of possibilities: a doorman-secured apartment building (comfortable, but all my fellow residents might be armed); the public library (plenty to read, and everybody sleeps there, but even bibliophiles carry concealed weapons); restaurants (plenty to eat, but restaurants are where the Mafia does most of its whacking); hospitals (lots of beds, but with staph infections more dangerous than bullets).
Then it hit me: Airports. Once you’re past security, No Guns, plus lots of restaurants, bookstores, TVs, walking and jogging space (wrong-way on a moving sidewalk makes a great treadmill), and toilets that get cleaned more often than at home. Sleeping and bathing arrangements aren’t five-star, but I figured ingenuity could work things out.
Of course, I’d need ticket-money to get me into Xanadu, but I’d have plenty of dough from selling my house and most other worldly possessions. I decided to start with a cheap, short-hop ticket, Denver to Fargo, figuring I’d simply miss the flight and blend into the crowd at DIA.
It worked for a day, but, at 3:00 am, with no flights arriving or departing, it was pretty obvious that the guy curled up on two seats, with an expired boarding pass, wasn’t waiting for a flight. They escorted me out, politely but firmly.
Back to the Land of Guns, but not for long. Ticket counters were opening up, and I booked a flight to Chicago figuring that the place never shuts down — I’m talking about O’Hare, not the city itself — and that, with a little creativity, I could last for three or four days, then move on to anonymity in other crowded airports like JFK, Atlanta, LAX.
From there, maybe I’ll branch out — Montreal, Sydney, Helsinki. I could see the world, or, at least, the airports of the world. I might even leave my cocoon occasionally. People say those are great cities, and the chance of getting shot is much less than in America. But I wouldn’t stay. I’d come back. Whether at O’Hare or DIA or JFK, my heart will always be in America, preferably without a bullet in it.