In some sense, our return to Kauai felt like a homecoming. It is the place where Theresa and I first recognized our feelings for each other many years before, and a place we felt a great spiritual attraction to. Indeed, it is a place of great spiritual power for many who visit it.
Of course none of that matters to the security checkpoint at the Honolulu airport. I have it on good authority that airport security is based on two principals: Make you paranoid, so you will act suspicious if they are trying to hide anything, and make you feel as if a lot is being done to make things safer. The first is an example of using intimidation and guilt to flush out the ‘bad guys’, but the second qualifies as ‘Security Theater’, which doesn’t do much for actually making anyone safer, but at least makes people feel safer, often at the cost of personal well-being, comfort and privacy. Nobody wants to listen to the person beside them begin to indulge in paranoid fantasy about how there may be a bomb on the plane while you’re cruising at thirty-thousand feet, especially knowing the level of scrutiny you will come under just for being in the seat next to them.
After being herded like cattle through a narrow chute, your belongings having been x-rayed, swiped and analyzed, your shoes having been thoroughly inspected for any deadly but improbably shoe bombs, and you are made to feel as though you may be heinously guilty of thought crimes. 10 years in Guantanamo Bay is a long time to spend for thinking that Donald Rumsfeld looks a bit much like a clone of George Bush sr., and you find yourself wondering if you’ve checked any controversial books out of the library lately, or visited too many conspiracy theory websites. In the end, they let you through, and you realize they are only doing their job, and taking it personally will only make you crazy.
As we disembarked the plane at Lihue airport in Kauai, we begin the familiar task of trying to track down which baggage carousel our stuff would come out of, only to end up in the main lobby of the airport, no baggage carousel in sight. Keep in mind that this airport is mostly constructed of wooden post and beam, and is open air with no doors. Anybody can walk in and out at any time. The overhead speaker was playing a recorded message about how ‘any unattended bags will be destroyed’ as though the full might of the meager airport security would unleash a small nuclear arsenal on any suspect bag, leaving hordes of injured innocent bystanders. I noticed a large pile of luggage in the middle of the lobby, and wondered what group of fools had left their bags in such an obviously targeted and suspect spot. Then I noticed that several of the bags belonged to us, just sitting there, waiting for anyone to pick them up (or blow them up, as it were.) Dashing over to them (moments ahead of homeland security, I’m sure), I rescued them from a horrible fate, leaving us free to find a vehicle to get around the garden isle.