Homeward Bound, Part Four.
At this point, I am “boots on the ground” in the city where my parents live. It is kind of a daunting prospect, but not as daunting as the first hurdle…getting on an airplane to arrive here.
Most people don’t really understand that. I’m intensely claustrophobic…a condition that has only worsened as I get older, not improved. I do my best to manage it, and under most normal conditions, it is not that big a deal. The idea of getting into a tin can packed solid with people, and staying put for hours on end under those conditions…just thinking about it makes me uneasy. Actually doing it? I stopped using air travel some time ago.
In addition…I have some pretty serious bionic assistance to help me walk, and even hear properly. The idea of walking through TSA’s scanning, with their extreme level of “vetting” post September 11…it really has not been on my list of things that I’m okay with. As various injuries increased over time, and the amount of bionics applied to fix that also increased…it became less and less realistic to even think about modern air travel.
As a result, for the first time in almost twenty years, I got on an airplane. I wasn’t sure why I was subjecting myself to it, despite the dire circumstances with my father’s health. It seemed like a Huge Deal, including taking days off from work. Ultimately, I have to admit that it was pretty @#$%ing unpleasant….but it’s done. Overwith.
TSA in fact, was not that huge a hassle. I was in the “pre-check” line, which helped a great deal. That said…I set off the main scanner every single time I walked through, no matter what I did…and I was intentionally carrying no metal at all. I did have the various devices that let me walk like a normal person, and I revealed them by hiking up a pant leg to the security guy.
That led me to the “all around scanner.” Being the only person in the pre-check line subjected to this made me a bit uneasy, especially because it seemed like a Big Deal. TSA people are generally very shouty. The cool part for me? When the scan was done, it had an outline of me on the screen, and in that outline was a yellow highlighted portion on every one of my bionic assistance or replacement parts. It was a lot like the old school computer diagrams on “The Six Million Dollar Man” and the “Bionic Woman,” and I kind of wish I had a picture of it.
That said, the moment all of that was revealed, they were done. The general shoutiness ended, they gave me back all of my stuff, and I was allowed to proceed to my gate.
In the over nine thousand languages on planet earth, I’m pretty sure none of them has ever produced the combination of words to form a sentence stating the simile “as lovely as an airport.” Airports are pretty disturbing stress pressure cookers, that constantly remind you that you might be in mortal danger at every turn. If you are already nervous about flying, those updates couples with the “institutional” decor are not a Good Thing.
Still…it’s over. I’m here. I have a big ol’ pony with me, and for the moment, air travel is a thing in the rear view mirror.
Artistically…I wanted to be compositionally simple. I considered not having a speech balloon at all, because I knew that I would have lighting and contrast problems with both the pencils, the paper stock, and the lighting “on the road.” Ultimately, I felt like I needed to go with the text, because Cap’s uneasy expression didn’t really capture the whole story.
I’ve already been asked…”Why is she taking an airliner? Can’t she fly? Doesn’t she have all kinds of weird vehicles?”
So…yes, to both of those. Cap can fly, and she does have a bunch of weird vehicles. It’s three thousand miles, people…that’s a big haul, even for a Silver Age Alien American Superhero. So she’s flying business class.