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Living In Post Time

The famous "black and white" LAPD po...

The famous “black and white” LAPD police cruiser (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.


4 responses »

  1. I’m actually quite pleased that your son spoke his mind!! We all should!! I’m not so pleased about the consequences.

  2. Oh no, Lorraine, it isn’t positive, believe me. He is not logical, but highly excitable, emotional and crazed when he goes into these rants, and they are obviously a function of his neurological issues. Besides, as I later told him, you don’t fuck with the cops. These were real cops, not just airport security. If he was black he would’ve been in jail or shot.

  3. He doesn’t have to be black to be shot. An elderly man in a wheelchair in a nursing home was
    shot to death a short time ago. I was almost arrested at Palisades Park when Billy was very
    young, obviously w/multiple disabilities, wearing a helmet because seizures at anytime could
    smash his head mouth eyes open in a violent fall–I had walked away from him and when I came back a policeman was towering over, demanding he pick up trash from a garbage can
    Billy had knocked over for some unknown reason.

    Any incident you report of this nature is bound to bring up a multitude of memories for me.
    I’m sorry you had that trauma at the airport and sorry you and Daryl have had so much
    to contend with in these later years of your lives.

  4. Thanks Christine for sharing your story. I never knew you had any experiences of this nature with Billy. He, unlike Daryl, was totally innocent of wrongdoing, not having any control. I don’t know for sure how much control Daryl has, but I believe he could behave differently if he wanted to.

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