Thursday, December 20, 2007

In Defense of My Pet Luggage

Here's a man after my own heart: Seth Stevenson, valiantly having a good kvetch about the ubiquitous roller luggage we all almost dislocate our shoulders with when we travel. Mr. Stevenson is right, for the most part. The wheels have made our airports into amusement park bumper cars rides. It is true that we pack the bags so heavy, we cannot lift them when we stubbornly want to carry them on the plane. It is true that no foot, ankle, elbow or baby carriage will stop us from dragging the bag behind us towards our scheduled destination. People, who are always guilty as charges, then try to lug an overtaxed rolling bag unto the very limited space overhead.
This ornery lady or gent said it best:

It's not the wheels. There are countless ways in which they are necessary. The problem is in taking wheeled bags where they do not belong. Any bag heavy enough to require wheels ought to be wheeled directly to the baggage check station. American travelers, though, are like a horde of Bedouins, hauling everything they own onto the plane and causing chaos, discomfort and rage as they struggle to stuff it all into the overhead compartments. For God's sake, CHECK YOUR BAGGAGE.

— L. K. Pettit, Helena, Mont.

However, I must speak out on behalf of my bag. I don't have children and I don't have pets. I have my bag. My cherished, loyal Dakota bag. I love her (in Spanish maleta is feminine) like a pet. I leave her at the counter, full of 70 pounds of toiletries, as Mr. Stevenson says, to fend off for herself in that netherworld of luggage abuse that lies beyond the counter. At the mercy of throwers and punchers and people embittered by chronic back pain. Engulfed by all the other overweight, overbearing luggage.
I hope she is safe and sound and not asphyxiated by 50 other bags on top of her. I expect her arrival at the luggage carousel like a mother expecting her toddler from kindergarten, or a puppy from a happy run outside. You can imagine my joy when I see her coming down the bend, sometimes flipped over on her belly, poor thing, quiet and composed. "Hello my darling, are you in one piece? Did anybody try to tamper with you, my sweet?" She's so battered (and she looks exactly like the other gazillion black rolling bags in the carrousel), no one ever pays attention to her. I refuse to decorate her or make her vulgarly identifiable, because I can recognize her a mile away. One day, a stupid passenger almost absconded with her, thinking it was hers.
I recognize her beautifully curved edges, her plump black wheels. She has no hard edges, but she is sturdy, no nonsense. Everything about her screams, "I won't mess with you; don't you mess with me". She is dignified and polite, but a total trooper. She never fights with the other bags, unless they are stifling her. She resents monogrammed luggage with logos as much as she hates cardboard boxes tied with twine. She is resolutely, proudly nondescript, but she has class.
And when I come back to my hotel room after a hard day of being a tourist, she is always there waiting for me. Not a kvetch out of her, ever.
I bought at Altman's in the Lower East Side almost fifteen years ago. She has been with me on every trip, business and pleasure, I have taken since.
And now, I'm taking her to China!

No comments:

Post a Comment