Explosives detected

Still traveling. I just staggered through security again, so sleep-deprived and homesick I could feel one of those little cartoon clouds hanging above my head. Then my bag was selected for a random explosives screening, and THE TEST CAME BACK POSITIVE.


The computer screen lit up bright red, screaming, “EXPLOSIVES DETECTED! EXPLOSIVES DETECTED!”

This is not me! Photo credit Dean Shaddock.

The guards began reassuring me that there are explosive chemicals in lots of common items, such as shampoo. I know they were trying to soothe me, but since it made me picture my head blowing up in the shower, it didn’t work very well.

So then I experienced a very thorough luggage cleaning — they took the lining out of my suitcase and everything — and also a luxurious half-hour massage. (“I’m going to touch your bikini areas with the back of my hand,” said the security agent. Afterward, I felt I should buy her a drink. It was weird for both of us.)

Now, if you’ve ever seen travelers lose their shit and be mean to airport employees (I have) you know that things do not go well for those particular passengers. After all, the airport employees are just trying ensure our safety. So while the security agent did her (hand) job, I chatted and smiled and asked another passenger where she bought her awesome silver running shoes.

Thank God, the plane was delayed long enough for me to make my flight. I sat down and saw the awesome silver running shoes walking down the aisle. As she passed me, the woman in those shoes turned and whispered, “Thank you for your writing.”

So I’m sitting here weeping with fatigue and joy and gratitude, because this way of living is so hard and weird and deeply rewarding. Maybe that describes human life in general. Anyway, thank you, Goddess of the Silver Shoes. Thanks to anyone who’s ever given a genuine compliments to a stranger. Even though some of us are still up in the air, your kindness has landed most beautifully.

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