Spent the last four days in Napa, CA, to attend the annual customer symposium of a network company we do a lot of business with. It went fairly well, learned a lot, got wined and dined, and Kate came down to make a mini-vacation for herself.
More on all that later; but the most amusing thing in my mind about the trip at the moment was my great "barefoot airline travel" experiment on the way home.
So the latest trend in the TSA's passenger screening procedures these days is apparently to X-ray everyone's shoes. In line at SFO, the ever-increasingly-efficient screeners were herding us all around as usual, repeating their commands over and over, "laptops out and available, jackets off and in bins, shoes off and in bins, all metal out of your pockets!" And of course everyone was complying before they even had time to become indignant about it. I threw my jacket in a bin next to my Birkenstocks, gave them my laptop-free backpack, then walked through the magnetometer with no event. Gathering up all my stuff, I was going to put my shoes back on for the walk to the gate, but with everyone else milling around doing the same thing, there wasn't really any good place to do that, so I just started walking down the concourse with my shoes in my hand along with all my other stuff. I'm pretty comfortable going barefoot anyway, so when I got to my gate I just sat down and started reading my magazine. And when my flight got called, I just threw my shoes into my backpack along with my magazine, and that was the end of it until I got home.
I was actually secretly pleased at discovering the shoes-optionalness of commercial air travel, and everything was fine, except for the lavatory in the plane to Chicago, which some idiot had made an unholy pissy mess of. That was a little gross, but I just scuffed my feet along the carpet in the aisle on the way back to my seat.