We recommend that you take off your shoes

Is what the metal detector agent said to me before I was about to pass through. Hmm, I thought, recommend? Ok well, I appreciate the recommendation, but this time I am going to decline. I passed through the metal detector with nary a beep, and he escorted me into a small holding pen for extra special security procedures: full body handheld metal detector sweep, in which it was discovered that the button that secures my jeans is indeed made of metal; and a full body pat down, in which he discovered a single non-metallic object in my right pocket—a tube of chapstick; and a bomb residue swipe of my sneakers, STILL ON MY FEET! It turned up clean, and I was allowed to go.

This must have been an omen of the day to come.

The flight leaving before mine was delayed, and my flight to Phoenix was seriously overbooked. But I had a boarding pass with an assigned seat. I checked in online the night before. I rock. Marcia and I had traveled to the airport together, she was flying to Los Angeles to meet up with her folks before heading off to Costa Rica. So we got some food and chilled at the gate waiting for them to board my flight. It was supposed to depart around 12:30, I think I finally started getting on the flight around 1pm, they boarded the plane from both ends, I got my seat. Ok, let’s go.

And we wait, and wait, and wait. And suddenly I realize there are two cops on the plane. I turn around to discover there’s some sort of scuffle happening at the very back (I was in row 5) apparently a seat was double-booked, and someone was refusing to leave the plane. Oh geez. Holiday Spirit. I think it was some guy traveling with his wife and small child, and from the people that got off the plane, it looks like some other folks gave up their seats for them.

Tragedy averted? Umm, well, except for the fact that it was 1:30pm as we were taking off. An hour late. My layover in Phoenix: one hour. Ugh. We land essentially as my flight to Austin should have been taking off. I spend close to an hour waiting in line at a customer service center (with everyone else from the Oakland flight), only to discover that I’d automatically been rebooked for the flight to Austin at 7:20pm. TOMORROW!!!

So what’s the good news? Phoenix has FREE wireless internet access. Thank god. I’m on standby for the flight to Austin at 7:20pm tonight. If I don’t make that flight, I’ll be spending Christmas Eve in Phoenix. If I do, I’ll be arriving in Austin tonight at 10:36pm.

Update: No luck. Even a $500 voucher wasn’t enough to get anyone off the flight. I don’t blame them. Ah, well. time to find a place to stay in Phoenix.

The other good news? I took some killer photos from the air.

Clouds over Oakland, California
Clouds over Oakland
Below the clouds, approaching Phoenix, Arizona
Approaching Phoenix, below the clouds
Agricultural geometry in the desert
Agricultural geometry in the desert

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