I love to fly. Of course I mean in an airplane. I use to think I would also like to test my nerve by skydiving. Stepping out of a plane at ten thousand feet soaring through space like, well like a rock. Then I woke up from that dream, thankfully. Now I like to have my complementary flotation device under me at all times.
With air travel comes some risk. I don’t worry so much about airplane mishaps. I know they happen. Eventually all airplanes land. “They haven’t left one up there yet,” is a common saying among pilots when broached about the subject of the safety of air travel. My issue today is not with my experience on the plane so much as it is with the trip our poor luggage goes through.
It is nothing short of a miracle when you and your checked luggage get to the same place at the same time. A union of man and machinery are entwined in a dance daily, hourly even minute by minute to ensure my necessities and I get to the same luggage carousel at the same time with hundreds of other travelers.
Once, while on a plane waiting for takeoff I was gazing out the window at the luggage handlers zipping around outside, oh so very carefully placing luggage on the conveyor loading our plane. Suddenly I noticed a blue American Tourister suitcase had popped open. That poor persons clothing were suddenly out of their capsule and soon would be strewn across the tarmac. I remember thinking, that poor woman. Then it hit me. That was my suitcase! Those were my shoes, t-shirts and yes unmentionables scattering in the wind.
I watched with disbelief as two men with huge orange earphones wearing blue coveralls rushed to gather pieces and parts of things that I had oh so carefully packed but just a few hours before. Quickly stuffing a shoe, a book, my clothes and even a loofah sponge back in the now set aside suitcase. They did it with such ease and grace that by the time I gathered myself up enough to jab my husband in the ribs to get his attention turned from the airline attendant to my plight, my violated suitcase with still a few things hanging out had been closed and sent on its way up the conveyor and into the belly of the plane. Two lessons were learned that day. One; lock your suitcase. Two; use a bigger suitcase and don’t stuff it quiet so full so it doesn’t pop open on the tarmac.
While we are here, I’d like to add some notes about packing when you are going to be traveling by airplane. When you pack and you don’t want to get home to find your under things have been gone through by unknown persons, don’t let your husband pack a metal baby moon hubcap from an 1950’s something car that he bought at a swap meet, then curl his TV ears, (wires and headphones) around inside the hubcap and then stuff that package down in between your carefully packed clothes. Even though, to protect the hubcap from scratches, he carefully wrapped both in non descriptive brown paper. See, in our post 9/11 world, even the checked luggage is scrutinized. Imagine the look of the surprise on the TSA employee’s face when a large metal disc with wires attached comes into view of the x-ray machine. This event actually happened to my friend Donna. She now has a check and balance procedure in place when she packs. Also, say you arrive at your destination and find yourself alone. You made it but your luggage didn’t. My only suggestion is to go to the nearest cement wall and begin to bounce your head off said wall. Note: there may be a line of people in front of you.
I’m waiting with rapt anticipation to hear the new round of summer vacation season stories.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book IYT BITS can be found on Kindle. Send your thoughts and opinions to her at email@example.com.