Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Don't Even Get Free Flight Passes For This Job

This entry was inspired by a particularly resonant zen arrow that hit this mark dead on regardless of whether or not it was aimed at me. Thanks, Zen Archer. I needed the lesson.

Dr. J was teaching at Dartmouth so Blind Betsy and I went to visit during peak leaf-peeping season. I'd never been to New England let alone seen what true autumnal colors could be1 so it was an exciting trip for me.

But that's not the point.

We flew into Boston-Logan and were supposed to catch a shuttle to take us to Hanover. The connection was tight but we had just enough time to grab our suitcases and dash for the bus. Except...

My suitcase wasn't there.

We waited and waited, watching the carousel go around and around, until the only item left on it was a gray trash bag secured with duct tape. We missed the shuttle. We filed a missing baggage claim. We caught the last shuttle and arrived in Hanover too late to do much of anything except sleep sans pajamas, toothbrush, contact solution or case.

It took nearly 3 days for United to locate my bag and get it to the nearest airport in West Lebanon2. When it arrived, it didn't resemble my bag at all.

No. In fact, it resembled an industrial strength gray trash bag secured with duct tape3.

Apparently, the baggage handling system at DIA had decided to make a handi-snak out of my suitcase, chewing it up beyond recognition, and then spitting it out - most of it relatively intact except for the missing socks, underpants and birthday gifts, the destroyed makeup, and some grease stains. So the baggage handlers tossed everything they could salvage into a trash bag, sealed it with duct tape, and put it on the plane without a thought of notifying an airline rep to assist me at the other end.

I learned an important life lesson out of that experience.

The only person who really cares about my baggage is me.

We all have baggage. It cracks me up whenever I see personal ads posted by people stating they want a partner with NO BAGGAGE. Because hello? Life is baggage, folks, some of it way heavier than others. By stating a no baggage policy that person is actually broadcasting some of his own personal baggage. Not the point.

I'm a relatively nice, caring person. I want to help people. Often I find myself assisting someone as she opens up and examines her baggage, re-arranges, discards, and repacks it in a lighter load. Sometimes I'll even carry it for awhile as a person adjusts the other bags he's carrying so that the load is more balanced.

But not for long.

And especially not when I do not see any move by the owner to retrieve it.

Because, while I may care about the person and want him to be happy, I couldn't give a shit less about his bag unless what's in it has something to do with me.

And there is little more irritating to me4 than to suddenly realize I'm holding a really heavy bag not my own.

That's when I exclaim "God Dammit!" and drop it on the automated baggage handling system...for better or for worse...and go looking for the nearest airport lounge.

1: Jujubes actually. That's what New England foliage looked like to me. Rolling hills made out of jujubes.

2: That would be W. Lebanon, NH not Lebanon as in the Republic of Lebanon in western Asia.

3: Did you totally see that coming?

4: Hmmm...maybe I should have titled this for the Pet Peevery Lane series???

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