Personal Travels — Mark Your Bags


One of the most difficult things for me to admit is that I’m in no way no where near approaching perfection in my life.  You’d think that by now, I had this living and traveling through life thing down to a simple set of schedules and sciences.  Oh, so not true.

photo of suitcase with grass skirt

My new Samsonite case with party to go

Take Saturday, the day I came to the Detroit area (WHOO-HOO!! YIPEE! My annual trek to the homeland).  I have traveled a lot in my life so there is nothing in the airline scripts I don’t know — fasten your seat belt low and tight across your lap–the button over head with the person icon is to call a flight attendant — read your baggage ticket when you collect your suitcase at carousel number six–blah, blah.  Yeah, I know all that.

So there I was, in Detroit Metropolitan Airport, hugging and kissing my niece and her two children.  We grabbed my brand new red Samsonite suitcase from the luggage carousel and took off to an evening of fun.

We went to my sister Sally’s Hawaiian party.  I came prepared with grass skirt and bathing suit top.  It was only when we arrived that I noticed most of the guests (more than 50 in all) put on a lei over a little bright sport shirt and pants for their total get-up. Definitely a “Legally Blonde” moment. I snuck back to the car and threw back on my travel jeans.  Missed a bullet on that one.

We partied until close to ten, then drove over to another sister’s home, where I will be staying for the week.  Have I mentioned, I have six sisters and a brother?  It may be a little confusing, but I promise you, each of my family members is unique and special to me.  The sister I’m staying with is Sheila.  A group of four of us congregated on Sheila’s couch for a nice end of evening chat.  Then I lugged my suitcase up to get ready for bed.  By now, it was after eleven, and I’d been in the area for about six and one half hours.

I flipped my suitcase onto the floor, and accidentally opened the outside pocket. New suitcase stuffing was still in it. I giggled, remembering how I was concerned about the bag weighing too much at the airport.  Then I re-closed that pocket and opened the main portion of the bag.

The first thing to hit my eye was a strange pair of flip-flops.  Hmm… had my sweet man slipped in a little gift for me?  He can be that thoughtful sometimes.  Then I noticed that my clothes weren’t packed the same way I remembered.  In fact, the colors didn’t look familiar.  Finally it hit me.  I had the wrong suitcase!  Oops, oops and double oops (plus a few expletives thrown in).

The next morning, I called the airlines and explained what had happened. Two two-hour round trips later, I was reunited with my bag. Hopefully the other woman who has an identical, brand new bag is happily rejoined with her luggage.

Lesson learned.  Stick on string, a fun and unique ID tag, or something else to mark your bag as uniquely your own.  Then, just to be sure, CHECK YOUR TAGS!

The irony in all of this is that the airline kept saying sorry to me.  Sorry?  It was my fault.  Now if ever I have a bag lost, I’m not blaming the airline people.  I know there’s some idiot out there that took my bag thinking it was their own, and the airlines are stuck apologizing that they can’t do an intelligence test on their passengers who take the wrong stuff.

Travel safe, and wise this summer.

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