So, today was the day police accused me of smuggling weapons into my mental health clinic. Except it was really just my art.
And it had been in my sketchbook, through the x-ray machine before. I made the piece in June. The metal detectors at my combo mental health clinic/substance abuse program/homeless shelter/court mandated halfway house type establishment were put in by DHS sometime in the fall. But today was the first time they stopped me, telling me I had a razor blade in my backpack.
“I don’t remember packing a razor blade” I said as they ransacked the pack, turning my wallet inside out and pulling things out.
“You have one. It showed up on the X-ray You CANNOT smuggle weapons in here.” As one of the officers pulled out my journal I remember this:
Sort of a musing on the classic Ojo Y Lengua motif. A knife would have been too big to glue into a sketchbook, so I went with a razor. I showed this to the cops who still said “That’s a weapon”.
“No it’s not. It’s glued and taped in. I can’t use it.”
“Well pull it out”.
“But that will ruin the picture.”
“Well leave the book here and pick it up when you leave.” Uh-huh. Leave a journal full of personal writings and drawings and lefty political ephemera in the hands of pigs who didn’t even need to be there in the first place. Fat chance.
I left and spoke to my counselor by phone.
I’ve been working through this sketchbook/journal for some time. These bored cops, who often look like they don’t want this assignment any more than we want them there, have run my bag with the book and this page through the x-ray countless times before. But I think in light of the police murders this weekend in Bed-Stuy, by an out-of-towner who may or may not have had a mental illness history, today I wasn’t just a weird chick with messy hair gluing junk into a book. I became a Crazy Person Sneaking Into A Mental Health Clinic With A Weapon. At least in their eyes.
So yeah. Today the police detained me for smuggling weapons into a mental health clinic. But it was really just art.