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September 3rd, 2010

GIMME DEM BAGS



I believe it was Joni Mitchell who once said*, “You don’t know how much you love your luggage til it’s gone.” Oh how right she was.

*Give or take a few words

Before this vacation I never really thought of the risks that the luggage-checking process entailed. The only advice anyone ever offered me before I left for Mexico was “don’t get diarrhea”. I guess in my mind once you stuffed things into that mysterious black hole, it slid down an underground conveyor belt and plopped directly out of the corresponding hole-of-mystery at your final destination (…The luggage, not the diarrhea. Get your mind out of the Mexican gutter.)

Then it happened. At first, the flight felt like any other. The stewardess smiled through her mandatory safety procedure to a crowd of people texting and yawning while she reminded herself she only puts up with this B.S. because every other Tuesday she gets to be in Paris from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m.. A kid from Hell continuously kicked at the back of my seat, a CBC news broadcast from 1997 played on a loop on a tiny screen in the distance and the bathroom floor was lined with a thin, blotchy layer of aimless-old-man urine. Same, old, same old (although my sense of smell tells me the man was different.) It wasn’t until I got to the baggage claim section of my journey that things started getting wonky.

The feeling you get while awaiting your lost luggage at the baggage carousel can only be compared to standing against a wall waiting to be picked for a team in gym class. As the number of people standing in the line starts to dissipate, so do your chances of not being a loser.

You start turning against others merely because they were luckier than you, “Oh come on that moron gets his luggage and I don’t?! Look at the hem of his pants! Disgusting! They would be doing him a favour if they lost his wardrobe.”

There’s that one lime green bag that keeps going round and round on the carousel like the last stale spring roll at a buffet. Your subconscious starts whispering, “Steal it!” but thankfully your morals set in. How could you hold your head up with pride while wearing clothes that were so embarrassing to begin with that their owner bought a plane ticket just to abandon them as far away as possible.

When the revolving track of disappointment finally comes to a halt, a loud buzzer is sounded just to make it official: you’re screwed. You look down at your Toronto blizzard-friendly outfit and start thinking of creative ways of transforming the lining of your parka into a cute beach sarong. With a couple of tears and a rip, the hood of your sweatshirt could be an American Apparel-esque bikini bottom. Your mittens start looking more and more like nipple tassels.

The worst part is, I’ll never know why they left. I tried my best to give them the shelf life they deserved. I washed them on gentle, I never grouped them by colour and how do my summer clothes repay me? By getting together with a couple of bathing suits and several packs of Immodium to convince the goggles I’ve had since high school that Team Jalees wasn’t worth clinging on to. To think they used my very own suitcase as their escape vehicle… Tacky!

So if the closest thing you get to a beach this March Break is the shoreline where huge mounds of snow meet your driveway, look on the bright side, at least you’ve got clean underpants. Cause losing your luggage can leave you feeling naked. Literally.



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