To The D.C. Police:

I learned something exciting and new while visiting our nation’s capitol this past week. I have steel-toed shoes. I was not aware of this feature when I bought them, but I will be sure to be more liberal with my ass-kickings in the future, now that I know.

I discovered this fact while passing through metal detectors in the public buildings and museums we visited in Washington. I got used to the routine quickly: step through the machine, wait for the beep, move to the side, raise my arms, say “it’s my shoes” while a tired-looking guard runs a wand over me, which squeals loudly when he reaches my feet. Heather waits patiently nearby, wearing her ‘I married a troublemaker’ look. My mom, who is sure that x-ray machines and the like cause instant cancer, would cry if she knew just how many times I repeated this activity.

Anyway, my point is this: you should’ve checked the shoes. I mean, how do you know they had steel toes? I could’ve been carrying something in there. Yeah, I would’ve been pissed if you’d have made me take off my shoes every time I entered a building. But I’m sure you see plenty of irritated people every day. I’m also sure you didn’t pursue the issue because a white girl with a midwestern accent doesn’t fit your profile. That’s kind of the point, though, isn’t it?

I was impressed with the amount of security around the city during our visit. From our hotel room, the nighttime scene around the Pentagon was eerie… police cars with their lights spinning constantly, parked next to huge floodlights that illuminated the whole highway, as far as we could see. The barricades and fences all over the National Mall detracted aesthetically from the monuments, but were somehow reassuring because they stood as a reminder that we are prepared. But when I passed through security over and over with that easily-accepted explanation, I realized just how tenative our grasp on our safety really is.


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