THE ONE WHERE THEY LOSE MY LUGGAGE
Last night I was at the baggage reclaim at 2:50 am and my bag didn't come through. I often suffer the effects of this prospect, even though it has not actually occurred until now; I'll worry that it's not coming fast enough, and then I become secretly euphoric at the thought of starting over, life unloaded. Without fail, the moment that the suitcase makes it onto the carousel and meets my gaze feels like an overwhelming success. I pride myself that it's typically one of the first to come out, I owe this to my magical powers.
Yesterday had a strange vibe, because the hall was almost empty. My flight was almost two hours delayed, and impatiently I flew through passport control and raced to the carousel so fast, I'm sure I didn't miss a thing. And yet hardly any suitcases appeared- I must have shared a flight with a pack of minimalists.
I wondered whether I was on the right carousel and asked around for confirmation. A few zombie eyed girls said yes, as they picked up their suitcases and went on their way. And there I was, in obvious back-from-holiday gear: Long jeans in a medium blue denim that nobody wears in the city, and that also have no space in Ibiza. Their sole purpose to be worn during the flight to be polite to the other passengers by wearing long pants. And a raffia tote.
In this set-up I dragged my carry-on under the fluorescent light of the big hall and checked every carousel, stopping momentarily to make eye contact with airport staff in the hope that they'd know someone I don't. One of them kindly said I'd have to fill in a form and the bag would be delivered to my home. I didn't want to believe him but I did- I felt so strongly the bag would come later, I almost wanted to punish myself for my optimism. Because I am a unforgivable optimist: I always think everything is going to be fine even when it's not, I never lose this sense of serendipity.
My instincts told me my bag was coming at a later flight, and I almost wanted to wait, but at 4.30am the wait seemed silly. So I called an uber and Mario picked me up soon after.
I laid on the front seat somewhere between asleep and awake, my head between the seat and the headrest. It's wonderful to travel without a big bag actually, as I often find on short trips. It's liberating, and practical, until you realise you have no shoes or toiletries. Traveling cheap and light ends when you own a macbook pro- where on earth am I supposed to leave it in a simple motel? Couchsurfing is out of the question, I couldn't leave anything of what I own unattended for two seconds in shared accommodation. I feel like that would be downright irresponsible.
Anyway. Mario was unsurprised by my convulsions between dreams, and at one point we were home. You know when you do something automatically but it doesn't really feel natural? I hung up a call I had started with British Airways, after a 19 minute wait on the musical line. I don't need to speak to anybody- my bag would arrive.
In the morning, I scanned my carry-on and checked it contained everything that I'd be devastated to lose: My laptop, my retainer, and the pearl necklace I got for my 22nd birthday. I felt proud to have packed so diligently, because I often chuck most things in my big bag and assume we'll be reunited.
I set out to live with these items for the foreseeable future and then made a Youtube video about it.
This is the thing about losing all your belongings to a fire, as my mind often conjures: It's very liberating. I of course, an insufferable collector, am not the best candidate for this opportunity, because I have more to lose than someone who doesn't treat handbags like pets. But I figure, as long as your insurance guy has a list of your watches and your hard drives are backed up to a cloud (I use Backblaze) you're good. And yet, of course I'm pulling my hair to now know where my suitcase is.
The shock doesn't sink in until a few days after. Until that day, rejoice, revel in your freedom. And cross your fingers.