New security regulations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.K.’s Department for Transport ban passengers flying from certain Middle East and North African airports to the U.S. and U.K. from bringing electronics bigger than a smartphone into the cabins. Laptops, e-readers, tablets, cameras, and more will now have to be checked in at the airport of origin. . . . “Bag theft goes up tremendously during these bans, as does identity theft and intellectual property theft.”
—Condé Nast Traveler.
Dear airport thief,
Welcome! Of all the laptops in all the bags checked from Istanbul to New York, you’ve stolen mine. A little about me—I am not an Emirati businessman with many Swiss bank accounts, the passcodes to which are stored on my numerous tablets. Rather, as a broke graduate student in the humanities, just months ago I spent six per cent of my annual income on this thirteen-inch MacBook Pro for my research trip to Turkey. Here is a friendly guide regarding its contents and care, before you wipe all my data and sell the computer on eBay.
“I’m With Her” sticker: Good luck scratching this puppy off! As a white woman with an American passport, the loss of this sticker is what I will most loudly lament in the Facebook post I will write about the hazards of international travel in the Trump era. The status will get three hundred and forty-seven likes and, if I’m lucky, a share by my aunt in Dallas.
Thousands of photos of my friends shoving food in their faces: See, the corn kernels on Parul’s teeth are supposed to be gold teeth! Doesn’t she look like James Franco in “Spring Breakers”? Isn’t it funny? You will find duplicates of these files—as well as many photos of Sydney licking doughnuts—on my digital camera, also now in your possession.
My Turkish-English dictionary app: Someone once told me that the Turkish word for “cucumber” is really hıyar, but that hıyar was so frequently used as dirty slang that the powers-that-be changed the name of the vegetable to salatalık. Of course, there is only one word I can remember in Turkish, and that word is hıyar. Thanks for stealing my laptop, hıyar-head!
Saved passwords: To my Gmail, my dad’s Amazon Prime, my mom’s Netflix, my mom’s Hulu Plus, my ex-Tinder-match’s roommate’s dad’s HBO Go. Please, don’t mess these algorithms up too badly. My excellent taste in television is all I have left.
“Rainbow,” the 1999 album by Mariah Carey: This is the first CD I uploaded to my iTunes, circa 2003. I know Mariah’s runs in “Heartbreaker” by heart. Perhaps you can learn the Jay Z part (“She want love in the Jacuzzi, rub up in the movies / Access to the old crib, keys to the newbie”), and we can film a heartwarming lip-synching video after you return this laptop?
Microsoft Office suite, 2016 edition: Including Excel, which has not once been sufficiently explained to me. But you still have time to learn—Excel your way out of your life of petty theft!
Abortive attempts at poetry, most about my ex Danny: DO NOT OPEN.
Abortive attempts at fiction, some about my ex Danny: See above.
My master’s thesis: A hundred pages, twelve-point type, on Syrian refugees with U.S. visas, stuck in Turkish airports. Enjoy!