Off With His Shoes!

Airport security always leaves me shaking my head in frustration. It takes multiple bins to unload my goods for examination: one for the laptop, one for the carry-on bag, one for the metal objects on my person (belt, coins, keys, watch, etc.), and one for my shoes.

I hate taking off my shoes at the airport and curse the “Shoe Bomber” who made this particular insult necessary a few years back. It’s bad enough to unloose the belt, but shoe removal leaves me feeling particularly vulnerable. You can’t run without shoes and even walking any long distances is painful, especially in sweaty socks. I hate standing on one leg retying my shoes as my traveling companions wait for me to redress. I take comfort that I am not alone but envy those wise enough to wear slip-ons and sandals.

Going through security in Amsterdam yesterday morning was not as trying. I loaded my belongings on the conveyor and started untying my shoes in abject humility.

“No, no shoes,” the inspector told me in broken English.

He must have known I was American.

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