We are living in a Post time: Post-Nine-Eleven, Post-Stress, Post-Trauma, Post-Modern. Think about it: the number of people, and not only war vets, living with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Brain Injury has multiplied geometrically since the turn of the century. My son Daryl, for instance, is, at nearly 50, Post-TBI—Traumatic Brain Injured—though I suppose we could skip the Post. He is brain injured, period. Bad enough he was born neurologically compromised; in 2004 a driver in a hurry ran a red light and threw him 30 feet or so onto hard pavement. His brain has never fully recovered; if anything, it’s gotten worse and may still be worsening.
Post-Thanksgiving, the Friday after the feast, we were returning from a visit to my daughter and family, a short delicious visit that had nearly been canceled when my grandson had a Crohn’s flare-up, but was merely truncated instead. Laden with leftovers, we entered airport security, and therein lies my sad traumatic tale.
The uniforms at LAX were a bit testy, and who could blame them, having lost a TSA to gunfire a mere three weeks ago. I was cleared for quick screening—didn’t even have to take off my shoes—so while I zipped right through, Daryl had to pass the Four Stations of Security: (1) putting shoes, jacket and bags on the conveyor belt; (2) walking through some kind of alerting device; (3) standing, hands raised, before a full-body X-ray; and (4) letting the TSA go through his food bag. Pre-screened or not, they’d looked through my food bag too, and decided the stuffing was really stuffing and the pie was made of pumpkin. I am not brain damaged, so I didn’t mind; but Daryl verbally pounced. Eager to dump half a century of personal struggle on someone, anyone, and heedless of our Post-Everything world, he yelled, “I’m an American citizen! While you look through my food some foreigner is blowing up the plane!”
Any non-comatose person reading this knows what followed, more or less : handcuffs, uniforms, TSAs replaced by LAPD, my tears, Daryl’s lunatic ravings, and a hotel room instead of a seat on the plane
I sit here now, having been momentarily inspired to create art of the experience, but in fact it is not art. It isn’t even much of a story. It is just another event in the life of the mother of / and a person with / disabilities.