It is just one more reality of life in these United States that every government entity is concerned about security.
That means, we the plebeians, out here in the provinces, need to deal with all of the hoopla that the security requirements entail.
I recently had a hearing in front of an administrative board. That means a trip to down town Indianapolis. That means an hour drive. Fair enough.
I moved out here to enjoy the company of real people, the sounds of crickets and frogs at night, rather than traffic and sirens, etc. The hour drive is well worth it.
Well, much has changed since I left my position with state government, where I wrote all of the laws and administrative rules for 13 administrative agencies and worked with the legislature. Unfortunately, no one bothers to tell the people living out here in God's country about the new realities about doing business in the big city. I guess you are just supposed to know it.
I budgeted an hour and 45 minutes from my office to the hearing to allow for parking, walking, finding the office and getting the general feel for things with the board. I made it to downtown Indy and government center in less than an hour as planned.
Unfortunately, the legislature is currently in session. The Indiana brain trust is a legitimate target for a terrorist attack, so all of the street parking in the area of the capital is closed with red vinyl bags over the meters advising you that you will be towed if you park here. No truck bombs will be getting our elected and appointed officials here by golly!
OK, I'll go to the parking garages. Grrr! No more public parking in the garages. State employees only. Fine, I'll try to find some privately owned parking place that is either un-patrolled or is only slightly illegal for out-of-towners to park in.
A mere 5,280-foot walk later, I am at the government center. My hearing is in the south building and I have come from the north. I know that there is a tunnel from the government center north to the government center south. It goes right by my old office. Since the temperature is hovering at about 10-degrees, I am ready to go in and get out of the cold.
What the ... you need to have a state employee ID badge to get in the door of the north side of the north building. I have a driver's license, my law license, my membership cards for several civic groups. I even have a credit card. Here is my hearing notice. Nope, I have to walk around the building. I am advised that the main door to the south building between the two buildings is where I need to go.
Walk, walk, walk. Oh no! State employees only. What do you mean that I have to walk around this building to the south side of the south building, middle entrance? Apparently, that is where the plebes are scanned, frisked and possibly granted admission.
Walk, walk, walk. It's only 10-degrees. No problem. Start to job (a middle-aged fat man really shouldn't jog, especially in 10-degrees). Walk, walk, walk. Get in line. Wait my turn.
Oh, I have to take off everything metal and put it into your basket. I need to give you my brief case? I have to take off my winter coat and suit coat and run them through the X-ray machine??? You know it is only 10-degrees, don't you?
Dear Heaven above, the metal detector doesn't like me. "Move over here, raise your arms, spread your legs. Now turn. Turn again."
The wand beeps. I look at the female guard.
"Do you want to feel me up?"
She looks at me with absolutely no sense of humor and undertakes her duty.
Eventually, I am allowed to put my belt and shoes back on. I am back on my way with no new bruises or soreness and am inside the building. Hit the elevator "call" button, hop in, hit "fourth floor," and ride up.
"Ah, here is a floor marquis. How do I get to my hearing room? Hmm, it is not listed."
Apparently I am informed by a passer by, you can't get there from here. It is on the far side and I would have to pass through locked doors that require a state badge.
Back down the elevator. Today, I am dressed in a dark suit, beige top coat, and am carrying my "ultra thin, silver" brief case. A lady, the only other passenger on the elevator, comments that I look like James Bond (apparently, a fat James Bond), indicating my brief case.
As the doors to the elevator open on the first floor, I state, "Yah, I have a silenced Walther PPK in there." (James Bond's gun of choice).
A state trooper riding up an escalator in front of the elevator turns and glares at me.
Walk, walk, walk. Get to the elevator on the other side of the building. Hit the elevator "call" button. Hit "fourth floor," and ride up.
Rush, rush, rush. Quickly glance side to side at office door numbers.
Finally, the hearing room.
"Ah, you must be Mr. Hear. We have been expecting you. The board will be ready for you in moments. You are just in time."