7 Surprising Benefits of Lost Luggage

I don’t fly often.  And when I do, I like to trust that the airline I’m flying will deliver my suitcase safely to my final destination.  And yet, for the second time in two months, the airlines have let me down, allowing my luggage to take its own sweet time to meet up with me. 

The first time I lost luggage was in December. I searched for my suitcase at baggage claim  longer than anyone should have to, and couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening.

I just stood there at the halted carousel, anxious and wishful, like dog on an invisible leash longing for a slow squirrel across the street.  Am I at the right carousel?  Where was my suitcase?  Is it stuck back under those black plastic curtains?  Did someone take it off for me to save me from straining?

It was only after the baggage clerk tapped me on the shoulder and urged me to head in to the customer service office did reality set in.

My crap had taken a detour.

Thankfully, I was staying with family, and after a quick but expensive late night trip to a 24-hour Walgreens, I had most of what I needed to tide me over until my bag arrived a day later.

So when I jetted south for a speedy-quick getaway to Miami this past weekend, I tried to do the smart thing and whittle down my belongings so they would fit in a carry-on bag.

You know, so I would have my suitcase with me at all times.  So that it would actually make it where I was going.

Except, the airlines had other plans.

You see, US Airways waited until I was handing over my boarding pass at the gate to tell me that there was no room left in the overhead compartments, and that my bag would need to be checked.

No problem, I thought, it will just be waiting for me on the jet way when I arrive, right?

Wrong.  Instead, the agent delivered a plastic smile and an answer that, in my agitated state, sounded something like “Your bag will be happily checked all the way to your final destination, so you don’t need to worry about lugging all your precious shit around.”  As if they were doing me a favor.

And wouldn’t you know it, one third of the overhead compartments on the flight were empty.

What’s funny about this whole situation is that every time I asked one of the gate agents if my bag would make it, I was assured that it would be, without a doubt, when I arrived to my final destination.  They actually joked that my bag would make it there before I would.

Which I guess is airline speak for You’re Screwed, lady.

To say I was pissed when my bag wasn’t waiting for me at 2am is putting things mildly.

But, as they say, why waste energy being negative?  I should have been grateful I decided to even wear clothes that day so that I wouldn’t be butt naked in public!

So, this got me thinking.  Thinking about surprising benefits to losing my luggage.  Seven surprising benefits, as it were:

lost luggage

1.  Being free of material goods makes me reevaluate what I truly need.  It’s empowering, really, to know that I can get by on so little.  And by little, I mean the tiny-ass toothbrush and toothpaste the airline gave me in their toiletry bag.

2.  If I actually had a suitcase with saline solution in it, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to check out the unfamiliar neighborhood I was staying at in downtown Miami at three in the morning to desperately find a shady 7-11.

3.  I’ve always wanted to give the natural make-up look a try.  Now I could attempt it without cheating a bit.

4. A great test of the depth of my darling beloved’s love for me is re-wearing stinky jeans for the second day in a row.

5.  Let’s be honest, that ragged Old Navy dress needed to be retired anyway.

6.  Those shoes I packed would have given me blisters the size of Montana anyway.  Besides, my trusty Dansko clogs let all those sexy young people in Miami know “Hey! I’m a Mom!”

7.  Nothing says “Romantic Getaway” better than drying my hand-washed undies with a hairdryer in the hotel bathroom.

So, next you experience lost luggage, just remember that there’s a silver lining to the whole story.

And hopefully that silver lining isn’t the one in your suitcase.



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One day at a time…

Remember a few weeks back when I made the joke that I needed an exorcism?  In my mind, that kind of activity would be an explosion (or implosion?) in the vein of Linda Blair.  A massive and sudden expulsion of energy that, when the dust settles, results in things being returned back to normal.  But perhaps what I need to set my sights on is more of the slow, fizzy release of negativity like a pressure cooker.

I’ve resumed therapy visits, and finally it seems as if we’re getting somewhere.  Without going in to too much detail, I’ve been doing my homework.  Every. Day.  Working on slowly emptying the anger from a very deep and wide reservoir that would make the Hoover Dam seem weak.  Yes, it will probably take a while, but I’m doing my best to be patient. It’s hard to dedicate yourself to working on something and see yourself stumble back and forth in the process.  I think I just hoped that after a few therapy visits, I’d land happily back in to my old shoes.  It’s taking longer than that.  In this Immediate Gratification era, it seems like anything that takes a long time isn’t worth doing.  Not true though, right?

At dinner the other night, we started showing Mr. B a video of him when he was around Miss P’s age, singing the very song she had just sung to us.  One video led to another, and on our media journey back in time, we stumbled on video taken from my baby shower when Mr. B was in-utero.  Looking at this younger version of myself, I got pretty depressed.  Not for the aesthetic part.  But because this younger version of myself hadn’t turned sour yet.  Her expiration was very far off in the distance.  She didn’t have that large crease in between her eyebrows from a constant scowl.  She hadn’t let motherhood and life and anger and resentment turned her in to someone you had to walk on eggshells around.  Man, I miss her!  I want to be that person again.  She’s in here, somewhere.  I know it.  So why am I holding on to this other version?  The one that thrives on misery and bad moods and passive/aggressive behavior?  Does anyone have a large, yet humane, trap we can put her in and ship her off to a place far, far away?  Preferably like this: 

And then, I came across a blog this afternoon that made me want to change with the snap of a finger.  I don’t even remember the history of how I found it (I think maybe Erin from My Nuggets of Truth?) , but Choose Joy is a blog written by Sara, a.k.a. Gitz, as she struggles with a chronic and debilitating illness.  Unfortunately, Sara lost her battle this weekend.  I only found her blog this morning, but I spent the better part of Miss P’s nap reading posts from the past year or so. While she eloquently chronicles her battle, she also makes a point of not complaining about it or placing blame.  How is that possible?  I’ve read other similar stories from people dealing with much bigger issues like this (rather than the petty ones I face on a daily basis like “You couldn’t unload the dishwasher?” or “Why am I the only one that picks up around here?”) and they all say the same things.  They don’t let the small stuff get in the way of their happiness.  They don’t dwell on the bad things, or at the very least, they don’t let shit just consume their livelihood.  Here’s a quote from Sara that sums it up:

I choose the joy. When something is going badly and I’m dwelling on it, I think instead of something for which I am grateful. I swear to you, it’s as simple as that. You just have to decide today, and again tomorrow. And before you know it, you’ll have an attitude of joy more than any other attitude you have at your disposal.

One day at a time.  One moment at a time.  Small bursts of focus that, compounded, could make things appear easier.  Who’s with me?