Lost My Purse at O'Hare Airport
Returning home from a trip, David and I made our way from Terminal
Two to United Airlines Baggage Claim in Terminal One. We picked up our
suitcases, took the elevator up one floor to the transit line, crossed
the bridge, then rode the escalators one floor down and got ourselves
ready to board the shuttle train to Parking Lot F, the long-term lot.
was only then that I noticed I no longer had my black purse.
Ordinarily, I haul shoulder-strap bags, but I’m trying to cut down on
the weight of the luggage I drag through airports, and I had picked up
a resale Liz Claiborne purse that was smaller, lightweight and would
only hold so many travel items. My habit had been to slip the hand
straps over the bar to my mobile computer-office bag where I file all
my books and projects. Since it is on wheels, I can pull it behind me.
my routine was disrupted a little because I was traveling with David
and he hoisted my computer bag down the narrow aisle of the airplane.
Somewhere in that reconfiguration of baggage responsibilities, I
mislaid my purse containing my passport, two credit cards, Medicare
card, cell phone, driver’s license and all the essential items for
moving through a day—car keys, house keys (perhaps the most problematic
because somewhere in all that mess was my address), makeup, hairbrush,
tissues and my ever-ready cough drops.
stayed with our two suitcases and my office travel case at the shuttle
train platform while I ran back to check if I had left my purse at the
counter of Baggage Claim 3 while we waiting for the suitcases to come
down. Nope—nothing there and the attendant said no one had turned
anything in. Perhaps I had left it on the airplane, but there was no
way I could get back through the security checks. I asked the guards if
a purse had been turned in, just in case it had fallen from my office
bag while I was going down escalators and I hadn’t noticed it. Nothing.
I ended up at the Baggage Counter, where missing suitcases are
reported. This is also the Lost & Found. I turned in a report and
sadly went back to my husband with the bad news, my mind already racing
as to what needed to be done to protect ourselves from consumer fraud
or identity theft.
The security guard at the transit
platform was sympathetic when I returned empty-handed, “Didn’t find
your purse? Oh, that’s too bad.” He recommended we make a report to the
Chicago police. He told us stories of their intervention in petty
crimes (it appears there are quite a few incidents at O’Hare). I
promised I would contact the police if the purse wasn’t found in the
next 12-18 hours.
‘You know,” he informed us, “they come
out. Take a photo of you. They can track your progress from the moment
you get off the airplane and walk to baggage claim.” He pointed to an
overhead camera we hadn’t noticed. “There are cameras everywhere but in
took this to mean that a white-haired woman wearing a red plaid woolen
jacket could be tracked throughout O’Hare and that the police could
quickly assess if I had disembarked our airplane clutching a purse, or
if some thief had cut the straps while I waited for David to use the
washroom, or if it had fallen off as I walked through the terminals, or
if I had left it on a baggage-claim counter and someone had grabbed it
and walked out the door.
The next morning, Sunday, at
8:45 a.m., we received a phone call from the Lost & Found
department at O’Hare. My purse had been turned in! I could come pick it
up that morning (which we did, skipping church; I kept thinking about
identity theft and wouldn’t feel comfortable until I knew if everything
was intact, and if not, what was missing). They gave me a claim number
to use as an identifier when I picked up the purse.
could have been a bad story in my life turned out, amazingly, with a
happy ending. However, I kept thinking about all those cameras tracking
the movement of passengers (and crooks) through the hallways and the up
and down elevators of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. This gave me a little
Tim Shorrock, the author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing—an
exposť of the corruption, waste, mismanagement and cover-up in our
intelligence systems—also reports that one of his sources, a
whistleblower who finally resigned from the intelligence community,
said that since 9/11, the National Security Agency has crossed all
kinds of illegal lines, without appropriate oversight, and created a
system that spies on American citizens that is fast becoming a police
state with few parallels in history.
George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four
was actually published in 1949, informed obviously by the fascist
societies of that time. It is chillingly prescient. The fictional
Oceania province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war,
omnipresent government surveillance, public mind-control all headed by
Big Brother, the semi-divine Party leader who expects and cultivates a
worshipful cult of personality under the guise of working for the
greatest common good. Totalitarian societies obviously have similar
dysfunctions so that Orwell hit on essential truths that have resonated
through the decades, also coining language that has entered into our
everyday use: Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, etc. I
often wonder how close we are to slipping into a similar society by not
paying attention to what freedoms we are losing.
because of this incidental exposure on the transit platform at O’Hare
to the ubiquitous overhead cameras, I’ve attempted to read articles and
viewpoints exposing and protesting pernicious citizen surveillance. But
then, suddenly and without warning, horrific terror strikes the happy,
joyful festival of the Boston Marathon, and I am grateful for all the
security cameras and the personal videos taken with cell phones.
Thankfully, a massive and coordinated manhunt captured the perpetrator.
“Conflicted” is the right word to describe my feelings
about an extraordinary loss of personal privacy weighed against the
reality that we are a country in a world that is indiscriminately bent
on blowing itself to pieces.
my mind leans back into comfort. We as humans are also under constant
surveillance in the mind and heart of a loving and concerned God. “He
who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he
not see? He who disciplines the nations, he who teaches knowledge to
humankind, does he not chastise?” Psalm 94:9-10.
This theological reality, of divine omnipresence, is often used to keep children (or childish adults in line), i.e., God sees everything you do. Better behave. I much prefer to lean into another reality about the all-seeing God:
“Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, for there is no help in them…
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! whose hope is in the Lord their God…
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, and food to those who hunger.
The Lord sets the prisoner free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
Lord loves the righteous; the Lord cares for the stranger; he sustains
the orphan and widow, but frustrates the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.”
Psalm 46: 2-9
surveillance can be used for good or for ill; it all depends upon who
is doing the watching. Who is to say who really guarded and protected
my purse and got it back to me—a cleaning crew? A Lost & Found
agent? Or the watchful eye of a loving heavenly Father? I think I will
spend more time praying for God to assign His angels to foil the
attempts of the evil ones hell-bent on destruction. Put not your trust in the ruling surveillance oligarchy—for there is no help in them.
Global Bag Project Sewers Graduation Ceremony: Mary Ogalo, Kenya Project Manager, Reports
had a wonderful day yesterday. I am still overwhelmed at the joy saw
from the woman who were graduating. I did not know this meant so much
for them, but I believe that they felt that they are no longer
spectators in life but participants in developing their lives. All the
women who were training came with their families who witnessed their
graduation. At around 1 p.m. in our usual meeting place—the domestic
science room of Africa International University, 11 women walked
proudly to receive their well-deserved certificate. Dressed in a
ceremonial gown and cap they made for themselves, each one held up
their certificate to the applauding crowd.
had told them that God would be visiting us in a very special way that
morning, God visiting to affirm his love and care. Through their
smiles, laughter and happy chatter with relatives, I could tell that
God had visited them and was breaking down the strong-holds of despair
and shame. Their dream to own the first asset in form their own sewing
machine came true. The members of the board … surrounded the women in
prayer, and we shared lunch together.
Global Bag Project seamstresses in graduation outfits
Ogalo has worked hard to empower our Global Bag Project seamstresses.
Each one was given a dual-powered sewing machine (with the understand
that part of its cost will be paid back to pay for machines for other
women who complete their sewing training).
you would like to contribute to the cost of a new sewing machine, we
pay about $320 in country for dual-powered (electric and foot-pedaled)
machines and will need to purchase more for training in the days ahead.
A check can be made out to the Global Bag Project and notated: “GBP
sewing machines.” Snail-mail can be addressed to Global Bag Project,
Box 30, Wheaton, IL 60187.
Karen's Blogs for This Week
Link is http://blog.karenmains.com/blog/thoughts-by-karen-mains.
Titles for Karen’s blogs for April 22-26 are: “It’s Important; Rent
Due,” “I Don’t Love You,” “Internet Technician Services” and
“Remembering to Collaborate Again!”
Karen uses the blogs as
a personal spiritual discipline to highlight the multitude of ways she
experiences God in her everyday world. For almost 40 years she has kept
a prayer journal that keeps a list of these divine interventions, but
she finds that writing some of them out gives her deeper understanding
of His interaction with her life.
The Soulish Food e-mails are
posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web
site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to
register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might
want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to www.HungrySouls.org.
is the right word to describe my feelings about an extraordinary loss
of personal privacy weighed against the reality that we are a country
in a world that is indiscriminately bent on blowing itself to pieces.
my mind leans back into comfort. We as humans are also under constant
surveillance in the mind and heart of a loving and concerned God.”
by George Orwell
WIf you haven’t read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four,
you might want to pull a copy down on your e-reader. Then ask yourself:
What are the commonalities of totalitarian systems? Are there any
similarities between where America seems to be heading because of our
homeland protection instincts that generations might resent in the
As literary political fiction and as dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four
is a classic novel in content, plot and style. The very adjective
Orwellian is used to describe official deception, secret surveillance
and manipulation of the understanding of the past by a totalitarian or
authoritative state. According to Wikipedia, the book was chosen in
2005 by Time magazine as one
of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923-2005. “It was awarded
a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching
number 13 on the editor’s list, and 6 on the reader’s list.”