by Frances Edstrom
I'm usually a pretty efficient traveler. I don't overpack. I have a travel kit with an extra toothbrush and other things most travelers tend to forget to pack. I check the weather, so I don't pack the wrong things (I'm kidding myself to think that ever works perfectly).
But on the way home from my last trip out to Massachusetts, I think I had some sort of brain spasm.
I did all the absolutely wrong things. I put important papers, a checkbook and my makeup (!) in the suitcase that I checked in Boston and expected to arrive with me in Minneapolis after a change of planes in Chicago.
Tuesday night at the Minneapolis airport, I watched as a group of young people that I think were speaking Russian unloaded over thirty suitcases from the carousel where I was supposed to find my suitcase. After they had departed like a group of locusts taking the landscape with them, I looked around for my little green bag, and it just wasn't there.
Oh, boo. Off to the complaint window, where a harried young woman took my information and said my suitcase would probably show up at my house the next day.
The next morning, I called my sister in Massachussetts, and she asked, "Did you by chance take my car keys home with you?"
Well, yes, a survey of my purse turned up her car keys. Off to overnight them to her, at a hefty fee.
When my suitcase hadn't arrived the next day, I began to get really nervous. The papers were not exactly irreplaceable, but hard to duplicate. What was most troubling was the checkbook.
On our trip home from Europe, our bags arrived with a couple of things missing. You aren't allowed to lock your luggage any longer, because it can be opened and searched any time. I understand the security implications, but am angry that apparently someone who is supposed to be looking out for public welfare helped themselves to some of the things I had bought as presents for my kids.
After that experience you'd think I would have known better than to pack the checkbook. I had nightmares about someone cashing checks on my account.
By late Thursday afternoon, the suitcase had still not arrived. I went home from work to check the front porch a couple of times during the day, and no bag. The last time was 3:15 p.m. I came back to the office in a real dither, and all ready to give the airline a piece of my mind.
I called the number they gave me. Aaargh! Not a human person anywhere on the other end of the line. Press one for this, press two for that. Oh, yeah? What number do I press to yell at someone?
Finally, I punched all the numbers, and a voice informed me that my bag had been delivered at 3:27 p.m. that very day!
I ran home, and there it was on the front porch. I checked inside, and everything was there. Ah, my faith in mankind (except for the guy who couldn't get my bag on the same plane with me!) had been restored.
Next time I travel I hope I remember the lesson I was supposed to have learned. But there's no guarantee I'll even remember losing my suitcase!