Half way across the Atlantic earlier today I looked up to see a naked man–a young white male–walking from economy towards first class. Totally bare. He was not chanting any threatening words in Arabic or any other language. In fact he didn’t say anything.
He was not in a hurry, not streaking. He was just walking at a normal pace, not looking left or right, not schmoozing up the attendants. An afternoon stroll.
He didn’t look or behave like a terrorist and he was certainly not wearing an explosive belt. As I said, he wasn’t wearing anything at all. I briefly wondered if he was a next-generation suicide bomber with explosives shoved up an orifice, but by the time that thought matured–if he was going to blow himself up where had he hidden the detonator?–the whole thing was over.
At a certain point he was greeted by a couple of men I assume to have been air marshals, and his adventure was over. His clothes were located and he dressed. He had a University of Virginia sweat shirt (What would Tom Jefferson have said?). I didn’t see him again until we landed, when the police took him off.
It was all very quiet. The crew and the marshals were totally professional. I never heard anyone yell. Probably he was either nuts or stoned. Or both.
There’s got to be a lesson in there somewhere, maybe even two, and here they are:
ONE: I, like most frequent flyers nowadays, am mentally ready to hurl myself at some guy with a weapon or who acts like a terrorist. But I was totally paralyzed by the naked man.
It was like watching a silent movie that might turn out to be hard core porn. But then again maybe it was a comedy. You couldn’t tell, because the tempo was so relaxed.
TWO: If the airlines are going to permit passengers to take off their clothes and stroll down the aisles, they should limit it to good looking women. They might even charge extra for those flights.
2B: They make you turn off your telephone, so I didn’t get any pictures…