Since I’m driving to Pennsylvania with my mother this week, I thought I should share again one of my greatest travel challenges.
I tend to over-pack.
I admit it. It’s a sickness.
It might even be a curse—who knows?
However, when you travel as much as I do, it becomes a problem—
A big problem.
This issue arises every time I go almost anywhere—the grocery store, the gym, my aunt’s house in Pennsylvania. Heck, I even carry too much to the bathroom, if I think my stay there may be extended—a book, a notebook, a pen, a drink, a phone, sometimes 2 phones—maybe a magazine. It all adds up.
Sara insists this calls for an intervention. She thinks she’ll fix me. That she can help me “edit”—her word. And admittedly, she has a reasonable investment in my reform, as often she ends up carrying my stuff, lugging it all over the planet—quite literally.
This is why she bought me a Kindle—afraid when last year we moved to Vietnam, where there’s not an abundance of reading material in English—that I would bring the inventory of a small university library along for the ride—that she would have to carry it.
Fortunately for Sara, she’s not going on this week’s trip to Pennsylvania.
However, this trip does, in a round about kind of way, remind me of another I made from Haiti to my home in Kentucky, a trip that challenged even my advanced luggaging skills. Even more so, since I was bringing my Maltese Lucy back with me—a dog as carry-on baggage—a canine complication on top of my already dogged determination to carry too much stuff.
When will I ever learn?
This complicating of already complicated carrying manifested itself most clearly one morning in Miami.
I was running late—unusual for the chronically early like me. I had to take Lucy outside the airport to use her version of public toilet. She took too long.
She wouldn’t pee!
I was pissed!
So I loaded Lucy back into her black back-pack carrier, hurried back into the hotel (after an over-night layover from Port-au-Prince) to collect my 3 remaining bags—a yellow and brown messenger bag, a standard carry-on-sized suitcase, and another 55 pound monster.
The woman at the hotel’s front desk mistakenly directed me to the American Airlines check-in in Concourse E, where the hotel is, rather than Concourse D—where I needed to be. I stood in line for a good 15 minutes before an airport official indicated what no signage did, that this counter only handled check-in for passengers headed to Haiti.
I was headed in the opposite direction—which meant trying to transport my abundant belongings outside for a 15 minute lumber to what could only be considered an outpost of the same airport.
It was far.
I was carrying a lot.
When I finally arrived at Concourse D, I tried to check in by swiping my passport.
When I did succeed by typing in my name and destination city, the machine recognized but rejected me because of the pet, at which point an actual human being intervened, only to send me to yet another, though in the same terminal, distant location.
Again I “luggaged.”
The clock was ticking.
Unbelievably, the third counter didn’t like me either, returned me, cursing the entire way, to location number 3.
There the slowest pet-check-in-specialist in aviation history had nearly completed the process, when I was reduced to begging, “Please hurry. I’m going to miss my flight.”
“OOOOOOOOOOOh, you have plentyyyyyyyyyyy of tiiiiiiiiiime.”
“Not if you have anything to do with it.” I think.
However, her sloooooooowly articulated, cloooooooooosing words, were less than comforting, “Gate number 50. Youuuuuuuuu have a longgggggg way to gooooooooo!”
Only after being rejected yet once more during the security check for (you guessed it) tooooooooooo many carry-on bags, did I finally persuade the less-than-friendly luggage Nazi, that I had paid an extra 100 US dollars for the privilege of bringing my dog along. I had to show the receipt.
To make a long story short, I did catch that flight, and I did make it back to Kentucky with Lucy and my many bags.
Sara may be right–that there needs to be an intervention.
However, as I was preparing to leave for Pennsylvania this week, she suggested it was good my mom and I would be driving–no flights to catch, no high-power portering skills required.
Do you suppose they offer advanced degrees in “bag-lady?”