As I stood in line at the bank, I wondered if I had brought my ukulele out of the car and strummed it while waiting (forever it seemed) it would have calmed us all. But would the ukulele have passed the metal detector cage at the doorway?
Unlike airline detectors, these full cage doors (you are literally trapped inside a set of doors while you are scanned) did not protest at my car keys or my iPhone or the loose change in my pocket. I did wonder if there was bluetooth in the cage and an entire conversation was occurring with my iPhone in my purse — only because it took a while for the next door to open. But no, bluetooth was turned off.
Would the eccentricity of someone bringing a ukulele into the bank line have caused a stir? It’s my “roughing it” ukulele — a soprano Stagg that was only $30. I can leave it in the car on a hot day and the bridge won’t pull off (unlike my Hilo).
For the amount of time I waited in line I could have gone through my warmup repetoire, strumming, fingerpicking and practicing the blues scales up the neck. A little round of “Freight Train” and a jazzy bluesy thing I am trying to work out to be original. I might not have heard the exasperated sighs of all the people in line around me and they might not have sighed if I had been playing. They might not have minded being a captive audience and we might have even started a conversation as often happens with “What is that little guitar thing you have?”
And finally I might have been calmer when I finally got to the teller’s window. For identification I showed my freshly renewed driver’s license. It has a new shiny lasered surface. The last license had neither a fancy laser design nor a strip of magnetic tape with all my info on it. Ostensibly the teller needed to see my picture for identifying me, which is understandable. Then she asked, “Can I scan this?” and was looking at the magnetic tape strip. I said I preferred if she didn’t scan it. She then opened a drawer pulled out a big white plastic card that had bold red letters, “Patron refuses photo.” I said, “Oh if that’s all you want is my photo, you can scan it from this card” and gave her my card from work. Well, she wanted the scan of the info — not my picture. Really?
If I had been playing the uke, the tempo would have picked up and the tune would have changed considerably.
This is now a song in the making. Will it be a blues or a Joni Mitchell? It’s called “Data denial”. Words to the effect: “Don’t misrepresent me. I deny you my data. You can have my face (and probably already do). The fact that you had to ask my permission to scan means you don’t really need it to do the business you have with me. Data denial was my right. Is it still?”
If I had my ukulele with me, the song would have been composed by time I was trapped in the scanning cage a second time on the way out. Now why would they scan you on the way out?
More words to the song: “Scan me in; scan me out; what is it you think you’ll find out?”