Once upon a time I really wanted to visit America. All over. And I guess, to be fair, I still would like to but there are so many reasons holding me back from even the idea.
And no, it’s not “because that’s where the Americans live”.
In the mid-90s I was really hoping to travel there sometime. See New York in winter because of all those movies where they have the big Christmas tree up in winter. See Washington because of the West Wing. California, because… just because.
There was something in right after the turn of the millennium though that changed all that. There was an event that more so than ever before turned the country inwards and fearful. Made it do all kinds of stupid things. Made it less welcoming.
Frankly, I don’t care too much what I might look like to their scanners. Or what a single serving of whatever radiation is involved might do. And I tend to avoid doing anything suspicious that would make the border crossing more uncomfortable than it has to be. But there is something that just inherently rubs me the wrong way about the mindset that would invent the need for all this theatre.
And let’s not even start with the startling gun violence stats. I mean, I’m not actively afraid, because as high as the numbers are, the odds of being involved in something are still reasonably negligible. But it gives me pause that the usual measuring-stick of “is it as dangerous as driving a car” is about to no longer hold for gun violence in the US.
And I’m also not prejudiced against the people. I hear many good stories about their hospitality to visitors… although that might also be favoured by the fact I would be travelling-while-white. Texas, as much as it’s a red-red state and has a lot of people in it that I’d have political differences with, is also known to be one of the most hospitable places in the US.
But I don’t think anything could outweigh my discomfort at the state of the place.
There is a certain unpredictability moment-to-moment about the place.
I’d be on edge for my whole holiday.
One thing I might consider though is flying into Canada, and then crossing just far enough into America to get to New York and Washington. But time might even be running out on that option now that Canada seems to be rapidly stripping away its own common sense. Maybe I should just focus on getting that time machine, because that would solve so many additional problems.