Everything nowadays seems to be done out of routine following a certain standard operating procedure aimed at maintaining order. In the end, things are done not because they are necessary but because the state loses its reason for existing should rational citizens decide that they’ve had enough of these rituals.
The check-in procedure before one could board a plan has so much to improve on. My brother and I reached Davao Airport an hour and a half before our flight schedule. Despite a handful of passengers checking in, it took us more than thirty minutes of falling in line, presenting our IDs just to make sure we were not some terrorists planning to bomb our budget carrier, falling in line again, submitting our luggage to the unforgiving scrutiny of the airport police, answering his serious queries about a suspicious looking bottle of herbal cure-it-all drink my mother sneaked in my bag, falling in line again, getting our boarding passes, paying airport taxes, falling in line again, and finally doing the most abhorrent part of all these: taking off my shoes and letting them see my unwashed pair of socks.
A staggering 60 per cent of all these, based on my conservative estimate was spent on doing a ritual instead of making sure that no terrorist or miscreant gets in the flight. The man who inspected our IDs merely held my passport without checking if it was really my picture pasted on the cheap paper. The guy who saw the image of a sinister-looking bottle in the side pocket of my bag did not interrogate me further as to the content of that breakable. What if it contains anthrax concentrate set by a timer to explode mid-air? He neither proposed to check the entrails of my bag nor felt my body for unusual bulges. What if I have a kilo of cocaine inside water-based condoms I ingested only to be excreted in the wash room of the airport in my destination?
And what is the point of showing them the holes in my socks?
But declining to submit oneself to all these is against the law. I have always been a law-abiding citizen. So I let them do whatever pleases them. I pay correct taxes on time. And in return the state has a responsibility to make me feel safe, or at least a semblance of security.
I boarded the plane and safely reached my destination, minus of course the kilo of cocaine inside water-based condoms.