Please Remove Your Shoes

As are so many images in these last several months this was shot on the good ‘ole Down Town Mall. I think it was in the entrance to a day spa—I’m not real sure. It was one of those “grab shots”—see it—snap it—keep walking. I posted it because you can’t look  at it without wondering about the people these shoes belong to—what was going on with them when they took them off—where they are and what’s happening in their lives now.

And I can’t help but wonder what goes on in that spa (or whatever it was) that requires unclothed feet. I think it might be fun (cheap thrills) to wander about in a carpeted closed space, soft music playing, in a large group of co-ed naked feet. You know—everybody secretly stealing glimpses of each other’s bare toes and exposed ankles. And if you should—oh I don’t know—“accidentally” brush your naked foot up against another bare foot…

Well—we won’t go into that—this is a G-rated website.

Most of the time.

I Googled the phrase “Please remove your shoes.” The first things that popped up were offers of signage—signs you can buy and put up so people don’t wear their shoes where shoes are not welcome—holy places maybe–like a Mosque or temples of other faiths.

Or I guess people who are germ-phobics might like to have one (or several) to discourage the sadly unenlightened from tracking in the hideous filth surrounding their sanitary sanctuary.

What did people do—I wonder—many, many years ago when shoes were first becoming popular—some people wearing them—some not. Were there any signs that said, “Please put on your shoes?” Well—come to think of it—we’ve all seen signs posted in the doors of many businesses in resort areas that say, “No shirt, no shoes, no service.”

I remember my mom—who grew up very poor on the Oklahoma prairie—saying when she was a kid she and her 9 brothers and sisters never wore shoes in warm weather—shoes were reserved for cold weather. Good thing she and her siblings never lived in any resort towns.

The other thing that was listed on the Google search was a movie—a documentary—named “Please Remove Your Shoes” by a director named Rob DelGaudi (anybody out there ever heard of Mr. DelGaudio?)

The movie is about airport security procedures and compares the period before 9-11 with security practices after that terrible day. According to comments in the film’s website

the big question it asks is “Are we really any better for all our money spent? Or is it safe to say that nothing has changed?”

The blurb goes on to imply we’re not—and if anything we’re worse off. Apparently we’re no safer than before and are now being plagued by incompetent and sometimes malicious bureaucracy that we are obliged to pay for. There is the clear suggestion we have to pay to be harassed and inconvenienced. I seem to remember when I was much younger, harassment and inconvenience were free. Here’s another quote:

“You’ll wonder if we weren’t actually safer before 9/11, as they (people who were interviewed) reveal their personal stories about a government agency run amok, which lies and covers up its oversights as frequently as it makes them.”

It does sound grim doesn’t it?

I have no idea whether we’re safer, less safe or any more burdened and harassed by government agencies than we were previously. It would appear—according to Mr. DelGaudi and his colleagues (who produced what I’m sure is a well-made documentary) –that there is cause for alarm.

I don’t fly much—I guess I’ve flown 3 or 4 times in the last 5 or 6 years—but I don’t remember any of the TSA people I came into contact with, running amok. They all seemed quite calm and very nice—maybe it’s more accurate to say they were nice to me.

It could be they feel sorry for confused, doddering old droolers like me or maybe it’s a routine senior citizen discount. In any event they smiled, wished me a good trip and not only was I able to board my plane without further incident but there was no charge for the harassment and inconvenience.

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