Unanswered questions

“Recommendation” is a strange word. It has a certain sense of choice about it, as though you could take it or leave it. “Recommendation” as strictly defined by m-w.com, is the act of recommending, of presenting as worthy of acceptance or trial. One might imagine “presenting” involves a certain lack of force.

I fly out of SeaTac airport very rarely, and it’s always interesting to see what’s changed over the course of a year. For instance, it was only a couple of years ago I was standing in line at the United Airlines check-in counter. This year (on christmas eve), the counter is virtually deserted — no doubt a testament to the number of people who have checked in on-line to escape the queues.

The line at the security checkpoint moves swiftly now; they have plasma screens up now, reminding people about what to do, and we are a people cowed, who will do everything we can to avoid being strip-searched and felt up. There’s only one question on my mind, that the husband absolutely will not let me stop and ask, since it might mark me as a terrorist, or someone worthy of being put on the no-fly list.

If it’s a “recommendation” that you take off your shoes, why are the guards forbidding passage through the xray machines until you’re shoeless? What sort of “recommendation” is that? And has anyone ever refused to obey their recommendation and lived to tell the tale? And why isn’t this shoe-removing procedure standard at all airports? Are Seattle-ites particularly prone to hiding contraband in their sneakers?

1 Comment so far

  1. kat (unregistered) on January 4th, 2005 @ 9:51 am

    I’ve seen the shoe thing quite often, but I was also flying in and out of National (DC) all the time.



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