I was happy to get home, open my bag, and find a flyer from the Department of Homeland Security telling me that they’d been carefully through my bag while I wasn’t looking, presumably as part of its ceaseless fight against terrorism. It was quite a good pick, in fact, as – unusually – it was a bag mostly full of clean laundry, so it won’t have been either an especially unpleasant or complicated task.
In some respects, the authorities are getting more consistent: each time I boarded a plane, I had to remove my shoes once (and once only), in place of the irregular variation from zero to two times that seemed to be in force in the earlier part of the decade.
But the Feds haven’t made their mind up as to whether Josephine and I count a family or not (and therefore whether we can go through an airport together with the same customs declaration form or not). One border official thought that of course we weren’t a family unit, as we didn’t share the same last name. Another at a subsequent border crossing thought that that was absurd, and that being married was enough to qualify. You’d have thought the bureaucracy would have managed to come up with a consistent policy on this by now. It’s not exactly an unusual situation.