In keeping with the surveillance themes of the Pet Shop Boys and Integral, this morning I found myself being randomly searched on the T. Yes, you read that right - the T. Not a strip search, alas - the officers were kind of hot - but just the standard, low-level harassment of having my bag searched. I missed my train, yes - but it wasn't the inconvenience that bothered me; it was the sense of an interfering, malignant government once again making its presence known in my life and sewing a general level of fear in its subjects. "Has there been a recent terrorism incident on the T?" I asked the passive accomplices of this policy, but they said they had no idea. "Has there been any terrorism on the T, ever?" I continued. "Has there been 'back chatter' in Pakistan about the Blue Line?" I wondered, but didn't say aloud. Frankly, I was afraid to poke the officers too hard; I was well aware that we have no more civil liberties in this country and that at any time, for any reason, I could vanish down a rabbit hole into the security apparatus. They could only hand me a card which said, "See something? Say something," with a number attached.
Well, I had seen something, so I called the number. There was no answer. I tried again. Ditto. (In the meantime, of course, the escalator could have exploded.) On the third try, I got through, but the sweet-but-bored woman at the end of the line couldn't answer my complaint; when I explained to her that I wasn't citing my treatment by any specific officer, but wanted to complain about the entire policy, she was at something of a loss; who was at the top of the command chain? Finally she gave me the "general" number for the "See Something? Say Something" program, which, of course, ended in a recorded option tree ("Press 1 for Dick Cheney, etc."); I decided on "Complaints about MBTA Service." There was no answer there, either. No doubt they were out torturing some poor Iraqi.