Monday, October 22, 2007

Dangerous Dave

I'm waiting.

Joe has gone to park our car and we are picking up a rental at the airport. We have two days of lecturing in Maryland ahead of us and we're going down a day early to give us time to travel. I'm feeling better and the last bag of IV antibiotic has been done, the IV removed. It's the first time in days that I've been free to push myself around in my chair.

After only a few minutes of waiting, I glance around at the other rental cars and notice a car that I don't recognize. I like the look of it so I decide to use my new found freedom to go and investigate. I pull up beside the car and examine the interior, nice. Then I roll around behind to see what kind of car it is, it's a Charger. Nice.

I go back to the car we've rented and park beside it waiting for Joe. A few seconds later a man approaches me, white shirt and tie, looking severe. "May I ask what you are doing here?" I could tell from his tone that he was being polite but also demanding an answer. I explained that I was waiting for Joe to park our car and come and get this one. "You didn't fly in?" he asks and I explain that we drove in. "Why were you prowling around the cars?" Prowling? PROWLING? I didn't know you could prowl in a wheelchair.

"Don't be silly," I said laughing.

He didn't laugh.

"Answer the question," he was deadly serious.

"I hadn't seen the new Charger and was just taking a look at it while waiting."

He nodded, considering what I said then he changed his tone and said, "I'd prefer it if you just waited here for your friend rather than wandering around the other cars."

"Sure," I said and he left.

I sat there realizing that he was checking me out as a possible terrorist threat at the airport. Here I am, old, fat and in a wheelchair and this guy is thinking that my actions made me suspicious! I grinned. I felt like an action figure - a villian in a bad movie. It was oddly kind of cool. I totally respected that guy for what he did, I so didn't mind being checked out. I know, if anyone knows, that wheelies are just as much a product of culture as anyone else - and so did my inquisitor. Taken seriously - that's what we want, that's what I got.

I'm going to feel safer flying out of YYZ next time.

Dangerous Dave ... over and out.


Andrea said...

"Dangerous Dave", heh!

Glad to hear that you apparently have your hand back now!

Where in Maryland are you? Specifically, are you anywhere up near the Washington DC area? If so, how much longer will you be in the area for? Because that's where I live. One of my two blogs, as you'll recall, is at
You can leave a message there (or dig up my email address) if you wish to get in touch before leaving the area.


Belinda said...

Oh dear, I'm laughing at the thought of that man taking you on. He has no idea!

I'm so glad that you're getting better and off the IV. That's very good news.

Kei said...

Dangerous Dave... I love it! If ever decided to pimp your wheelchair, you'd have to have a sticker with that on it.

So glad you are feeling better and no longer have the IV.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Andrea, I'm in Greenbelt MD, do you know where that is?? Is it near you?

Anonymous said...


I live in Arlington Va (other side of DC) but work in DC ... Greenbelt is a little bit of a trip from DC but at least parts of it is accessible via metro, though I think parts of it are not (I don't drive). Do you have any idea if you're near the Greenbelt (green line) metro stop?


Dave Hingsburger said...

Hey, Andrea, I'm sorry, I've been lecturing all day and just got to the blog ... I don't know where I am in Greenbelt. But you know I'm coming down next year to Virginia, I'll write you when I have details. Dave

Anonymous said...

Okay, great, Dave -- I'll look forward to it!


OliverSteinberg said...

Interesting anecdote. Two weeks ago, my daughter was on an Amtrak train which was stopped near Buffalo while Border Patrol agents went through and demanded identification from all the passengers. Gave the Hispanic folks from California a tough time, they did. Yes, the USA is getting so extremely paranoid under the incumbent criminal regime.

Dave, there's no reason for you to feel safer at XYZ airport---I suppose you wrote that somewhat tongue-in-cheek, anyway. The pall of fear-induced paranoia doesn't make any of us safer, just less free. Every time I go through airport security checkpoints, I see people on crutches or in chairs subjected to severe searches, so I concude that it must be policy. My friend with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (a brittle-bone type of disease) was flung back and forth carelessly enough to risk causing fractures, last time I escorted her through the procedure.

And if the car rental bozo had realized you were from Canada (a foreign power!), he'd have called for backup.

What I think about the increasingly authoritarian atmosphere is that one should never accept it passively as if it is inevitable. Even if it is inevitable, it's important to name the evil and speak out against it, as long as one can.