The following is the recounting of a nightmare that was going on when I woke up this morning. I’m still a little shaky from it and definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed.
The nightmare started as I was in the car looking for my grandson’s house and got lost. I got out of the car for some reason; I think to check a map or my phone. I forgot to put the car in park. Because of the way the wheel was turned the car rolled around the corner.
Then it started rolling downhill gaining momentum and was also in the wrong lane facing oncoming traffic. Cars were honking and dodging the oncoming car. I began racing down the hill trying to catch the car, frantic and terrified, and wondering how I was going to explain this to Mr. Husband. I thought “oh man, I’m NEVER gonna live this down.”
Somehow it rolled into the airport and came to a stop on a flat area right outside a terminal. I finally caught up to it. There were police and other scary looking unidentifiable official types surrounding the car and digging through it, searching under the seat, in the trunk, looking under the car, inside the engine, etc.
3 FBI types approached and escorted me inside to an office to question me. I explained what happened, fully expecting them to say something like “Wow, that was really fracking stupid” and that would be the end of it.
As we were talking, people wearing rubber gloves began to enter the room putting down stacks of papers and personal items from my car. The agents started looking through the papers. I had a variety of junk including pictures, mementos, some term papers about controversial topics I had written as college assignments; gun control, abortion, environmental issues, etc. I also had a stun gun for personal protection in the car. Why I had all this junk in my car, I don’t know – this is a dream, after all.
They started asking me about the papers and why I had the stun gun. Did I have a bone to pick with society? “Uh, no.” Was I intending to commit some act of violence because of these views? That would be a negatory. It occurred to me that they intended to make a case that I was a potentially violent nutcase with nefarious intentions.
Then someone came in and said “the kid is OK.” I asked “what kid?” One agent said “the kid that ran into your car.” The other agent corrected her and said “the child that was hit by your car.” I asked that they clarify which it was and they hemmed and hawed and wouldn’t give me a straight answer. That was really scary and the hair on my head began to stand up.
The car I was driving was a Cadillac, comically huge because this is a dream, so my mind immediately went to a scenario where some unsupervised kid bumped into the car and the parent, noticing that the car was an expensive one, thought “Ah Ha! Lawsuit! I bet I could get some good money out of this.” I briefly wondered how much liability insurance we had on our car and life in general.
I noticed that they were beginning to place my possessions in evidence bags and asked “why are you doing this.” They replied “this is evidence, Mam.” I asked “evidence of what?” They replied “that’s for the courts to decide.” Feeling a cold chill I asked “What do you mean the courts? What am I being accused of?” “Reckless endangerment, and hit and run, also sending an unmanned vehicle into an airport is a matter for Homeland Security.” I protested, “But I didn’t ‘send it,’ it rolled here.” They looked at each other with raised eyebrows, but said nothing.
The confiscation of my possessions made me feel extremely violated. Also it became apparent that they intended to turn my simple and stupid mistake into a criminal undertaking.
At this point I panicked and asked to call my husband. When I tried to tell him what was going on I became hysterically, sobbing and was unable to speak coherently. They took the phone out of my hand, hung it up and put handcuffs on me.
This is when I woke up.
I think this dream was triggered by my growing fear of how much freedom we are giving up in our personal lives for the sake of “security.” In many places in our country the police no longer need a warrant or consent to search vehicles. I think the belief that if “you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” is misguided and leading us into a false sense of “it couldn’t happen to me.” We as a society are seeing a snowballing invasion of our privacy. This leads to government officials looking for that “big case” to further their careers and leads to criminalizing human error.
I am extremely grateful that was only a nightmare. But, I’m also terrified that this going to become a possible reality for American citizens.
One thing about this crazy adventure I thought of that mad me laugh was a scenario described by the stand up comedian, Ron White. He was in a bar in New York drinking, of course, what else do you do in a bar? He pissed off someone and got thrown out onto the street. He said that they did not just escort him out, instead 6 bouncers picked him up and threw him out the door like Frisbee, breaking a chair in the process. The police arrived and accused him of destruction of property and being drunk …in…public. His response was “No, I was drunk in a bar, which is perfectly legal. The trouble started when they threw me into public!”