Barefoot at airport security

There is one place in the world that I absolutely detest. There is no way around it if you want to fly the friendly skies:

Airport security.

Yuck is all I can think of to describe it. Over the weekend we flew down to Oakland to see my sister, brother-in-law, and of course my 6 month old niece. Usually the plane that goes between Portland and Oakland is a turbo prop. I do not mind the turbo prop, but often it gets chilly down by your feet. I have no idea why that type of aircraft is so dang cold, but it means that I try to make sure I am not wearing my beloved flip-flops when flying for fear of frost bite on my toes.

Alas, it means I usually wear running shoes when I know I will be flying in a turbo prop, but sucks when going through security. Why is it that the place in the airport that they make you take off your shoes is also the filthiest, most disgusting place seemingly in the airport (well maybe second to most bathrooms)? I am a bit strange, I would rather go barefoot then keep my socks on. There is something about walking across the floor in my socks and then putting my socks in my shoes and transferring sock filth to the inside of my shoes. I guess sort of like walking through dog poop and then putting your shoes on directly afterwards. For some reason, I would rather be barefoot, and then walk across the floor on my tippy toes, sit down, wipe any dirt, stray hairs, and whatever random gunk off my bare feet before putting my socks and shoes back on. Strange I know, but that is how my mind works.

Why is it that the place they make you take your shoes off never looks like it has been vacuumed or cleaned? I have seen Macy’s dressing rooms with cleaner floors and that is not saying much. They usually close security down for a few hours a night, you would think the last people on the shift could vacuum and mop. Or, they could send in a cleaning crew. Or do they clean it each night and us humans shed that much grossness in a day?

Who knows. I still dread taking my shoes off going through security. Who knows what the person before you left behind. I shudder thinking about it, breathe deep, and release the thought of it until my next trip.

She remembered.

We all want to be remembered. We want to know we matter. Sometimes we are remembered and we are in awe of the individual that remembered us. I often have blog posts about customer service, the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. I still have wide eyes after this experience, and yet you might consider it mundane.

At the end of last week, I went by a Nike store to return a few items. The last time I had been at this location was in mid-September when a good friend was in town. We had spent a bit of time there looking for clothes and shoes for her, her husband, little baby girl, and step-son. During that visit I had a shift of thought. Nothing ground breaking, but a shift nonetheless. You see, I can sometimes get addicted to something and not want to try something new. I mean that in the form of the running shoes I wear. I’ll tell you what happened.

My friend and I started looking at running shoes. She asked me what were the best for the different kinds of needs of a runner (over pronation, flat foot, under pronation). While discussing each potential option for her, the sales associate (Nike calls them Athletes) asked if she could help us. We asked her a few questions, and she asked me what I run in. I told her the LunarGlide 3 and that I had a stash of them in my closet because once I find something I like I want to make sure I can keep using them. This is a tough thing to uphold when you wear a Nike running shoe, as they innovate so fast. The Athlete said to just on the LunarGlide 5’s for her. I resisted for a while, and she persisted. Finally, I grumbled, and gave in. I tried them and I was hooked immediately. I bought a pair (as did my friend). I began running in them the next day, and have not once touched my 3’s.

Fast forward to the end of last week (remember, I was returning a few items). I am quickly scanning men’s shoes with Chris to see if there was anything new, and this Athlete looks at me and says, “How are the LunarGlide 5’s?” I was flabbergasted. I stared at her a minute, as a zillion things crossed my thought. “She remembered me. Wow. That is amazing. That was over a month ago. I only met her once. How did she do that?” I slowly regained my focus in the present and said, “I love them. I recently purchased a second pair.” I pointed down to my feet. As I walked away to find Chris and tell him what happened. It was not until I was home that I thought to get her name. I should have. She made me think about the power of remembering, of caring. If only we treated everyone that way.


Running shoes connected by history

Running shoes have a history. They tell a story of where a runner has been. If you have not yet seen the cover of the most recent Boston Magazine, then you will not want to miss it. They acted or reacted fast after the Boston Marathon. The cover contains 120 running shoes in the shape of a heart. Each pair was worn by someone who ran the Boston Marathon. A clever and meaningful way to honor the 2013 Boston Marathon, both for the runners and those impacted by the events that transpired at the finish line.

It makes me think about the history and journey of my running shoes. The many, many pairs I have worn through that are still in my closet. I have had a hard time parting with them. The worn soles of the miles I have put on them. Whether I was running and reading on the treadmill, or passing the time outside there was a story that followed each of my runs. It might have been the book I was reading while on the treadmill, the novel that kept me going, or the new knowledge or insights I learned from a business book while on my daily run. It might have been the houses I passed in my neighborhood and the music that kept me energized. Whether inside or outside, each pair of running shoes helped me process my day, my work issues, my family life, whatever dilemma was thick in thought was sure to have been mulled over in my current pair of running shoes.

What were each of those runners thinking about while running the Boston Marathon? Was it their first marathon, or one of many? Did they struggle to finish that day, or on their way to breaking a personal record? How many miles were already racked up on that pair worn during the Boston Marathon?

That cover photo brings together many lives and untold stories of how each runner got to the Boston Marathon. You will want to read the article (shared above) from John Wolfson, the Editor-in-Chief of Boston Magazine and how they were able to quickly change their cover issue, as well as interview each of the runners that have shoes on the cover, who tell their stories of their race. Copies will be on newsstands on Tuesday, and other stories not included in the print edition will be online. I would like to get a copy.

Do You Stare?

Are you a gawker? I am the kind of person that assesses the room when she enters. Not so much to see where I feel comfortable, more because I am always reading people. I find people fascinating.

I may be found staring because I am watching how others listen to each other. Does everyone feel included? Are others bored? Is everyone intrigued? Is the energy of the room happy, dull, depressed, angry, lively? Does one individual have a way with words? Is someone a good story-teller? Does someone else have a wealth of knowledge and experience and others gravitate towards them because they have so much they can learn? Does another bring down the energy of the room because of their negative comments and attitude? All of these questions intrigue me and swirl through my thought in different group interactions.

I may also be watching the room because I am exploring the clothes, shoes, hair, etc. Not in any judging way, but because I find style, color, and clothes interesting. Whether for the combination of how others put an outfit together, to interesting jewelry, or shoes. I love the comfort of a pair of jeans, to the odd and extravagant shoe. You will never get me in a pair of high heels, but you can find me in a pair of flip flops any day or a pair of running shoes. I like to be mostly flat and grounded in this world.

I was reading a book on friendship the other day and the author called herself a ‘gawker.’  Am I a gawker, or do I just take an interest in people? I think I will go with the latter.

In Austin, staring down to the street, where there were cops galore