Friday, January 21, 2011

South of Houston

Greetings from Houston! "Houston!?" you may well ask. It's not a city I know or have had any particular reason to visit. But a close New York friend has been here with her ailing mother, and someone needed to fly her nine-year-old daughter down to be with her for the weekend, and I was available (our Spring semester only starts Monday!), so here I am.
Getting here I've learned that, while you can't bring even a water bottle or a tube of toothpaste into an airplane terminal these days, you can take someone else's child to another state without anyone batting an eyelid. I'd been fretting. Surely someone would want to know why I was traveling with a little Ethiopian girl (and with a different surname)! Someone should want to know! Another of my best friends has worked for several years in Family Court in New York, and I've heard of many cases where a child was taken out of state - and beyond the reach of the State Courts - by an irate parent who had been denied custody or visitation rights. (Many of the "missing children" on milk cartons are in fact kidnapped by family.) Nothing can stop a car driving out of state, but I would have thought that at an airport (not least because of the vast apparatus of airport security) there would be some checks.

When I worried about this on the phone to my friend in Houston, she reassured me that children travel domestically without ID anyway; people would just assume I was her father. And in fact it went without a hitch. But I'm still unnerved. I'm glad we made it here, but it freaks me out that it should be have been possible.

1 comment:

Barb Hodges said...

Yes, I understand what you mean. I have often thought about that in regard to girls getting abortions. A girl needs permission to have her ear pierced. but not to have an abortion. Also, parents can't have access to the college student's grades but the bill is sent to them. Life offers alot of ironies. Another one comes to mind. I was in a local pharmacy and a young man was purchasing cigarettes. The cashier asked for ID. Understandable. But this young man was in uniform and had just returned from hazardous duty. He had risked his life for our country, but still needed to prove he was old enough to buy smokes.