Surveillance Sickness

©RG Sherman

This is how I imagine surveillance sickness.  Maybe it will become part of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, something I actually used to read when I was a kid and wanted to become a psychiatrist.  I’m cured of that now, but I may be suffering from the above titled disease.  Included in this category of illness is also the current trend toward exhibitionism, whether physical or mental.  All things have their opposites.

Physical exhibitionism is obvious,  evidenced by near nakedness displayed by female celebrities.  Mental exhibition is given a wide stage via facebook, twitter, et al, where one can masturbate all kinds of mind-y-ness.  One cannot watch what one cannot see.  And, mind you, they’re watching.  What’s that I hear?  Is it Google at the window, drones overhead, the click click of the NSA on my phone?

People ask, what’s the concern if you’re not doing anything wrong or have anything to hide?  This brings up a trip my husband and I took to Northern Ireland a few years back.  When I told him my plans of going his comment was, “they’ll know I’m coming.”  He is ex Special Forces.  “Tosh!”  I said, getting into the UK spirit.  But, know they did, as they followed, watched and listened to our every move from the moment we landed.  The first indication of this was a man with a camera surreptitiously aiming it at me and my husband.  I turned around so he couldn’t take my picture.  No matter, as the evidence became irrefutable when my husband was detained by English police on his way out of the country.  Come with us into this little room.

Photographs of our every move were slapped down on a table.  A criminal justice version of Shutterfly.  Details of conversations we had on public streets were repeated.  Questions asked.  Who were these people we were meeting?  What did we know?

And meet people we did.  Incredible people, the kind of people governments want to know about.  But the funny thing was, these meetings were happenstance, coincidental, accidental (unless you believe there are no coincidences, as I do, but that’s for another blog).  We’d pull up to the curb just as a man was walking up the sidewalk.  I’d ask for directions, he’d personally escort us, the adventure would begin, new friends made.  We stopped by a lake for a rest.  A man with a fishing pole sauntered up.  Soon, there were British army helicopters buzzing over head.  “I think that’s about me,” the man said.  There was a lot of interest in this fellow.  And on it went, resulting in a wonderful trip for us, and much employment for the surveillance teams.

Appearances are deceiving as things are not always what they appear.  Cameras present a picture, it is the mind that interprets and fills in the story, whatever it wants that to be.

About the image:  this was created using the gradient tool in Photoshop.

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