Escape from America

March 2nd, 2007

Brother, Ill drink to that!

Most people reading Cryptogon inside the U.S./Britain are familiar with nonstop feelings of impending doom and frequently asking themselves questions like:

Am I next?
Is this it?
Can I escape?
Is it too late?
Has everyone gone nuts?
Have I gone nuts?
Is this job killing me?
What booze is on sale?
etc. etc.

That was what it was like inside my head for about two years before I bought my one way ticket to New Zealand.

What was the actual escape like for me?

After a couple of hectic days of selecting what to take with me, and what to leave behind, the time arrived for me to get to the airport.

As I was groped and fondled by defenders of the Homeland at airport security, I went into a kind of dreamlike trace. Will I make it out to the other side of this thing? I wondered. The cacophony of the checkpoint became a sort of languid hum. The fat TSA employee started to move its lips, but I dont remember what it said. I complied, on some instinctual level. A few minutes later, I was standing just beyond the security checkpoint, holding my shoes and belt in one hand, and my falling down pants with the other.

I exchanged a couple of brief, humiliated, what-just-happened-to-us? kind of looks with other travelers, many of whom were not Americans, and not used to being treated like that.

I walked to the appropriate Air New Zealand gate and sat down. I took my mobile phone out and called a couple of people to say one last goodbye. Then I called the voice mail system for my phone and changed the greeting to something close to this:

Hi, you have reached Kevin. I have left the United States and dont have any plans to return. Goodbye.

Minutes later, hundreds of people, including me, took our seats in the belly of the large white bird. Minutes after that, it hurdled down the runway and out over the Pacific Ocean, veering South and West. Ive never been able to sleep on aircraft before. But I did on that flight.

Once I was in Auckland, I had to catch another flight to reach the Far North, my wife (she went over a few weeks before me) and my new family. I walked to the domestic departures area in the Auckland airport and asked an Air New Zealand employee where the security checkpoint was, because I somehow wound up at the gate without passing through one.

There is no security checkpoint for domestic flights, sir.

You can imagine my shock at this remarkable statement.

Theres no security checkpoint?! I asked.

Nope. Not for domestic flights, she smiled.

I felt like dropping to the ground and kissing the polyester airport carpet, but I didnt.

I took a seat and mumbled to myself, Im not even out of the airport and things already seem better here. That was my first big epiphany in New Zealand, and they just kept happening. (Maybe someday Ill write more about this. In short, if youre having doubts about the lies youve been taught all your life about the U.S., run with those feelings. Run for your life.)

When I read the story below, I wondered, How long has it been since I escaped America? As of today, I have been in New Zealand for exactly one year. On reflection, I think back on my life in America as a vague and distant nightmare. The United States has became a vast nut house inside a debtor prison. Im still not over the euphoria of being out. […]

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