Thursday, December 08, 2011

On being secure: extremes within a short time


After getting back to Mexico City from Newfoundland I had to go to a consulate to get some information for an application I was making -- just a few hours after having had my latest full airport scans and spending the usual time in lines.

I got to the consulate and handed in my ID while the gate was unlocked, and then had to complete the same kinds of procedures as at an airport. I gave them my bag and they said I'd need to put my mobile phone and anything else electronic through the machine. I said I didn't have a mobile phone or anything electronic. They looked at me incredulously and repeated the request. I repeated my response. They still looked very very dubious -- and fair enough, because almost everyone in Mexico City carries a mobile (not least, as a personal security support), and I suspect that even more than almost everyone who goes to the consulates has a phone. I felt very closely observed as I went through the scanner arch, but sure enough I wasn't concealing a phone. I could have informed them how I feel about mobile phones, but had I done that I am sure the antagonistic vibes I'd have sent off would have made anyone nearly feel sure I was a security risk. I loathe mobile phones with a passion I reserve for very little else.

Anyway, I got the information I needed and headed back to the metro for the trip home. As anyone who has traveled on the Mexico City metro knows, it rivals the subterranean malls in towns like Montreal and Toronto (and many other places) as an underground shopping space. Vendors come through the carriages hawking everything from chewing gum to herbal cures, via CDs and DVDs of music, music videos and movies, along with snacks, ice creams, frozen drinks ... You name it.

So, here I was, after a day loaded with scanning, on the metro during one of the several daily "peak hours", and there's a vendor squeezing his way through all the people, advertising and demonstrating his product.

Box cutters at 5 pesos each....

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