Leaving on a Jet Plane?…July 14, 2007
Every six months or so I return to the place I once called home. With heightened airport security around the world, I find myself spending significant amounts of time in long lines with no one to talk to.
An interesting thing about me is if I have no verbal conversation to keep me occupied, I begin to observe my surroundings. It’s not that strange, really. Remember when you were a child and you would look at people and imagine there’re a spy or a celebrity? I start creatively comparing people’s hair or shoes and sometimes I daydream about possible scenarios based on how they look.
One particular day I noticed suitcases. Not only suitcases – I noticed how everyone’s suitcases appeared to “suit” them.
The feminine lady dressed in the latest fashion had two suitcases, each of a tapestry design. She was coordinated and stylish. She was self-confident and sophisticated. While she seemed annoyed at the inconvenience of waiting in line, she dutifully accepted her place in society.
A young man in dreadlocks wearing jeans and an NGO t-shirt was handling a three-foot-long backpack. He didn’t care what anyone else thought. His only concern was getting his stuff to his destination. The box was as secure as he was. No frills, just moving through life the way he wanted.
A Khmer family negotiated three carts loaded with large cardboard boxes fastened with duct tape, probably full of silk, VCD’s, ARA cigarettes and dried fish. Family ties are the priority and transporting the full limit of goods from the homeland to others in faraway places keeps those bonds strong.
A striking gentleman in his 30’s looked like he walked right off the cover of GQ magazine. If he hadn’t been with a woman off the cover of Vogue, I might have started up a conversation and forgotten all about this suitcase nonsense.
They had a matching set of navy blue luggage with leather straps and cute little padlocks. They had one large suitcase, a garment bag and a small case for toiletries. I guessed they were going somewhere exotic, or romantic maybe. Where ever these two went they traveled light, unhindered by economic problems that much of the general population is burdened with. They were carefree and purposeful; typical yuppies.
This couple contrasted with the lady behind them. She had three kids which I guessed to be under the age of ten. The middle boy kept trying to rock on the chain dividing the rows of lines. The oldest continually whined while the youngest just sat there on the cart probably loaded on Benadryl.
Her suitcase displayed a lot of wear and was stuffed tighter than a Christmas turkey. I wondered if she’d ever had the zipper replaced in an effort to increase its longevity. I was sure it suffered under such stress each time it traveled with her.
The kids had precious new bags that looked like large lunch pails with the latest heroes and cartoon characters (compliments of grandma, no doubt). This woman’s life had to be filled with as much clutter as her suitcase; too many things to do and not enough time to do them. She just stuffs what she can into her life and makes it fit.
You may wonder what kind of baggage I checked in. Even though I don’t have to tell you, I will. Limited to only three items, I had a new extra-large duffel bag, complete with wheels, an extending handle and a fluorescent TSA-approved locking strap. I also had a leather backpack and a guitar. So, I’m eclectic. And I have a creative imagination.