April 18, 2005

ANNOUNCEMENT, then a Story from the Road

SAD ANNOUNCEMENT: I only have INCOMING e-mail at this hotel. All my OUTGOINGS get stuck. SO. If I do not write you back for the next 48 hours, blame technology, not my unwaning love for you, oh my Hallmarkian internet ducklings who care enough to hit send on the very best.

The guy in front of me in line at the airport wouldn't take his shoes off.
BUT THEY ARE SNEAKERS, he kept saying.

I stood there, watching the clock close in on Midnight, too tired to even work up a froth of loathing for his LOUD belief in the International Sneaker Exemption Rule. I stood there mildly hating him, a very dull and blanketed feeling. The airport employee, female, pretty, 35 or so, was clearly hating him more than me, as folks piled up in the Disney-World line organizer.
Him: But.. these are SNEAKERS.
Her: How would you like a body cavity search?
Him: But, see, there is no METAL in SNEAKERS. These are SNEAKERS.

The word "footwear" did it Perhaps he thought he could prove SNEAKERS are NON-SHOES, but not even Daniel Webster could make a case against sneakers-as-FOOTWEAR. He was stymied.
He looked desperately over his shoulder, and then he leaned forward and said to her, quietly, "I have been travelling for three days. I do not want you to smell my socks..."
He was very dear and embarrassed and I flippy-flopped instantly from lackadaisically loathing him to being charmed.
She said, "Sir, I promise to mouth breath."
They kinda grinned at each other for a second, having this neat little human moment as we moved like cattle in a kill line, down the chute and into the machines.

Posted by joshilyn at April 18, 2005 9:05 AM

I understand his embarrassment. Not his willingness to hold up the entire line, but definitely his embarrassment. I once wound up getting pulled aside for the full "random" check (on the way to see my DH for the last time before he left for Afghanistan -- yeah, I'm a terrorist), and it turned out I had put on my holey-est pair of socks that morning, as well as having stashed some... well, let's just say marital-fun-type-things into my carryon. That was amusing!

Posted by: Beth at April 18, 2005 9:56 AM

I always make sure I wear shoes that I won't be embarrassed to take off when I travel. You know what really scares me? People who won't let you wear your shoes in their house. There are whole cultural enclaves in the US and Canada where it is assumed you will remove your shoes at the front door and it is quite rude if you don't. These people do not want me removing those summer sandals, I gahrontee it.

Posted by: laura at April 18, 2005 10:12 AM

Now here is a case made for separate airport-security lines: One for Okay People (that's us) one for Smelly People, and one for Terrorists. It would speed up the process immeasurably. Oh! And crackheads could get jobs as security people in the smelly line, since they can't smell anymore! This could be a real Social Justice kind of win-win, don't you think?

Posted by: Jill K at April 18, 2005 12:09 PM

Oh yes, I don't know how some business-y type travellers do it - I don't wear jewlery, no belts... nothing. Had to once undo my belt AND jeans in the middle of the airport, did NOT like that... caught suspicious passenger staring at my undies. I kid you not. However, I'm all about the security - I like the fact that they make sure no one on my flight is a terrorist!

Anyways... as far as the no-shoes-in-house rule... You couldn't wear outdoor shoes in my house or you'd have to clean the carpets every single day.. definitely too spring-time-mud-in-Alberta around these parts. I'd love to wear my shoes all over, but ... yuck. Though I'm quite sure that if someone from the shoes-on-in-the-house clan were to actually be in my environment and then try to come inside, they would realize how dirty it is outside before they walked on my carpets!

Posted by: Heather McCutcheon at April 18, 2005 1:25 PM

I'm glad you caught a glimpse of the human there to make it more bearable. I remember those lines. I flew from Montgomery to Orlando in 2004.

Posted by: Heather at April 18, 2005 4:06 PM

Just goes to show you, don't judge another until you've walked a mile in his moccasins/smelly sneaks.

Posted by: Dara at April 18, 2005 4:14 PM

I can relate....my eldest always gives the TSA worker fair warning.....now he just needs to make sure everyone within a 100 ft radius is warned....I always felt sorry for the guy who got stuck sharpening his skate blades (he's a hockey player) as he does not wear socks when he skates. Tho, having to drive to the hockey shop with those things in the car was always a challenge. I was VERY happy when he got his first car and I no longer had to haul bags of smelly sports equipment around.....only 28 months until the youngest get HIS license....his feet are just as bad!


Posted by: teri at April 24, 2005 11:18 AM