Pack Rat does it again!


Since Sara and I are continuing to box up our lives here in Haiti (all in an effort to move back to the US next week),  I couldn’t help but share a post I wrote some months back about the pack-rat affliction I suffer from, as well as two quick photos of our dog Lucy’s participation in the packing process:

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, even a restaurant or my mother’s house.  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.

Wise woman!

However, this week’s trip from Port-au-Prince home to Kentucky, has challenged even my advanced luggaging skills.  Even more so, since I was bringing 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 yesterday 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!

Never did!

I was pissed!

So I loaded Lucy back into her black back-pack carrier, hurried back into the hotel to collect my 3 remaining bags—a yellow and brown messenger bag, a standard carry-on-sized suitcase, and another 55 pound monster—at least 100 kilos, if I’m doing the math right. (I’m not good at math.)

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—which two weeks from now will indeed be my destination.

For now—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.  

Didn’t work.

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!”

No kidding!

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 100 extra US dollars for the privilege of bringing my dog along.  I had to show the receipt.

You get the picture.

There’s ALWAYS a complication because of the bags, especially when Sara isn’t along to help carry!

Maybe she’s right.

Maybe there should be an intervention.

In the meantime, I’ll have to further sharpen my Sherpa skills—

Do they offer advanced degrees in “bag-lady?”