September 7, 2009

Back in the U.S.

After my panel was over, I had a wonderful time in Canada. Each day, I got up at 9 and toured the city for six hours. Then I headed to the conference for a 4 p.m. panel and met up with friends at 6 p.m. for dinner and drinks. I think it was a good balance.

I walked everywhere, so I saw most of the downtown area while I was there. My feet got really sore -- by the end of each day I was hobbling back to my hotel, and I had to soak them in hot water every night. But it was worth it. The weather was beautiful, and there was cool stuff to do on every corner. I saw a festival, a parade, a protest. I toured the high fashion street, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Shoe Museum. And I did a lot of shopping for souvenirs. I bought clothes, jewelry, a t-shirt from the university that I visited, and just one tacky souvenir -- the Canadian flag with rainbow edges (like this one). I don't have any "gay pride" stuff in the apartment, but the red matches my kitchen perfectly, and I thought it was pretty. Unfortunately the stick broke in my luggage.

On the way home, I got selected for "additional search" at airport security. They went through each of my bags by hand and tested them for explosives, and a female security officer patted down my entire body (like, everywhere) and had me stand in various positions while she checked for contraband. They asked me if I wanted a private room, but I said "Here is fine" -- it's odd to have a stranger patting your boobs in front of everyone, but I wasn't humiliated. After the tests came back negative, the officer said "have a good flight" and it was over.

Even though the search itself was fairly painless, I felt unsettled for the entire flight. It's very strange to be singled out as someone who might be carrying explosives. I kept thinking, "What did I do? Why did they pick me?" All I could think of is that I was wearing a metal necklace (maybe some people wear metal jewelry to conceal other objects), or that I might have looked nervous and distracted, and they are trained to identify those expressions. The experience made me feel for people who are profiled based on their ethnicity or their religious clothing. I imagine it's worse for those people because they know why they were singled out, and it's awful to feel like people suspect you of terrorism.

But the flight went smoothly after that, and I was very happy to be home. The trip was fun but exhausting, and I was anxious to see my cat. I miss her terribly when I'm away, and I spent all of Sunday just counting the hours until I could hold her. She has been very clingy since I got home. She woke me up 3 times this morning wanting attention, and I know I should play dead to discourage this, but I can't help petting her every time because I missed her so much.

My only accomplishment for today was grocery shopping... I'm still exhausted and sore from the trip. Maybe tomorrow I will do something productive, or the next day...


  • What a great experience! And love on your cat all you want. She'll back off when she is sure you're in town to stay.

    Welcome home you filthy terrorist, you. LOL! I think maybe sometimes the searches really are random... the X number person to walk through or something.

    The flag is very cool. So pretty!

    By Blogger Mamabeek, at 9/8/09, 1:06 AM  

  • Welcome back.

    It does seem like you balance conference stuff and tourist stuff really well.

    The search sounds like no fun at all, but I think Mamabeek is right that they really do random searches.

    By Blogger Psych Post Doc, at 9/8/09, 6:45 PM  

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