A life of workarounds


A security checkpoint in Portland, Ore. (Natalie Behring/GETTY IMAGES)

I see now that if you’re 75 or older, or 12 or younger, you no longer have to remove your shoes to prove that you’re not a security threat. Who came up with those parameters? Are there are lot of 74-year-olds who still are shoe-removal candidates? And how do you know that someone 71 isn’t just pretending to be 75? Does the security agent ask to see some ID? I hope that when I’m 75 and boldly walk through the checkpoint with my shoes on they card me. Because not only do I still look young at 75, I still look dangerous.

Every year the radius in which a destination is more preferably reached driving rather than flying grows longer. I have to go to Ohio soon, and could get there faster by plane, but the indignities of air travel make the long road trip more attractive. While I’m driving I can listen to good music. I can follow the news on NPR even in remote mountain hollows. I can read the paper. I can groom myself in the mirror and try to rearrange the flesh on my face and neck to more appropriate positions. I can nap in moderation (cruise control helps, I have found).

Ooops, they’ve ordered us to shut down our electronics. Another indignity. Gotta fly.

Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."

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