Vanished Into Thin Air
Hate me if you must, but no airline has ever lost my luggage. When I drop off my bags at the entrance to the airport, they miraculously appear at my final destination. Even the time I flew five flights in a single day (see “Swimming in Alphabet Soup” from February 2012), my suitcase showed up on the baggage carousel. Granted, more often than not I carry on everything I need, and rely on the USPS to deliver a box of pre-shipped extras to my hotel in advance of my arrival so my odds of a successful reunion with my belongings garner higher returns. Regardless, I pack frugally and travel similarly, so the contents of my baggage are critical, and having everything with me when I arrive allows my expeditions to begin immediately upon arrival.
Of course there was the one time my son left a book in the seat pocket. He didn’t deplane, he just changed seats on the flight to help a family traveling together. After takeoff when he went back to retrieve his book, the family had given it to the flight attendant. The flight attendant gave it to the gate in Chicago before closing the doors, thinking it belonged to the previous flight’s passenger. And from there, the book vanished. The logical chain of events would be that the book went from the Chicago gate to a main location in Midway International Airport, then on to a central location for the airline. Yet once the book left the plane, it dematerialized. How exactly does that happen?
Did You Look In Alabama?
After visiting friends in Birmingham we decide to swing by a little store in Scottsboro, Alabama, featured on CBS Sunday Morning. Bill Geist profiled the little specialty shop where shoppers can find just about anything from swimming trunks to a wedding dress, with a wide selection of cameras, CDs, and a complete, all-weather wardrobe. The Unclaimed Baggage Center sells just about everything the airlines have tired of possessing. Vast lots of homeless suitcases with tragically abandoned, and occasionally outdated, clothing and assorted personal effects become thrift-shop fodder for us and we wander through the bizarre warehouse with no particular purpose.
Son #1 purchases his first thirty-five millimeter camera at the expense of its original sad owner who most likely has moved on to a digital version of his or her previous model. Son #2 selects a brown, felt fedora appropriately labeled with the name of the movie character whose likeness often dons similar apparel. As for me, I am content to bring home a few compact discs that have long since disappeared from music stores of soundtracks from movies that have long since disappeared from theaters. Maybe one day when passing northward near Chattanooga, Tennessee, we again will dip into the plenty of abandoned possessions and begin a new chapter for otherwise homeless objects. Perhaps we will find a missing biography of John Paul Jones last seen in the Windy City at gate A11.