I used to enjoy baseball games.
In the 1990s, when life was calmer, I went to perhaps a half-dozen Mets games a year. (Not the Yankees: rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for Apple.) One year, I had bought a Sunday ticket package, and went to see a World Series game.
For all its shortcomings, I remember Shea Stadium fondly. More recently, I went to Citi Field, and was not impressed. OK: the seats were nicer, and I had maybe an inch more legroom. But it’s still a baseball game.
Alas, this may be my last year.
Major League Baseball has determined that, effective 2015, all attendees at baseball games will have to submit to metal detector screening. I’ve put up with the bag checks that started after 2001, but one can avoid those by simply not carrying a bag. I’m also OK with getting frisked: it takes only a few seconds, and I don’t have to empty my pockets.
But I draw the line at the full airport treatment to watch a baseball game. I accept it at airports because there are many things that one might carry on an airplane that can be dangerous: the practical need for airport security is broader than just looking out for terrorists. And I don’t just jump on a plane and fly somewhere without a good reason.
But baseball is supposed to be an entertainment. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be a respite from many of the other annoyances of life. It’s not supposed to be an empty-your-pockets moment (except perhaps at the concession stand).
For much the same reason, I’ve given up on the Monday night summer movies at Bryant Park. They don’t have metal detectors, but your bags are subject to inspection. The inspection seems pointless: the mind boggles at the things that I could stuff into my briefcase and sneak through.
But a real inspection isn’t the point: it’s to cover the organizers of the event if anything goes wrong. Beyond that, it’s yet another instance of security theatre so that we all get accustomed to having our stuff searched.
* * *
Next week, I’ll have been married for 13 years. My wife is not a citizen, but has been a permanent resident for most of that time, and would be eligible to be a citizen now if we filed the papers.
The subject came up at lunch today.
If we had met each other, say, ten years earlier, it wouldn’t have gotten a second thought: of course she would become a citizen. And if she felt strongly about it now, and wanted to become a citizen, I wouldn’t be writing about it now: it would simply get done.
But, now, neither of us can see any point in it.
I used to be proud of my country. But now, I’m just waiting for the hammer to drop.