I love to go to the airport. I travel - not a ton, but a couple of times a year, and the airport is a fascinating place to spend time.
I've never been to Heathrow - it's a goal, eventually - but this video is really, really cool. (And the opening scene from Love, Actually is probably one of my very favorites.)
I wanted to talk about baggage, though, and not airports, although you see some really great baggage at airports. I have some non traditional luggage - orange suitcases with bright purple and red and yellow flowers. I have dark pink with white polka dot luggage. I have a purple and black watercolor computer bag.
I like color. I like to be different. Black luggage is boring and everyone's suitcases look the same. I also like to know whose luggage it is, and having non traditional luggage is the best way to do that.
Once, my suitcase broke while being tossed onto the conveyor belt (I guess. No one exactly told me. I turned it into the airport staff in one piece and it came back in two.) When it came off the luggage carousel, I was both horrified and mortified. My hard shell luggage was in two pieces, one half crookedly placed on top of the other, held together with a bungie cord. Underpants, a bra and my sweatshirt were clearly visible, hanging out the sides of the mashed together bag, and my cosmetics were tumbling around the conveyor belt, having been bounced out of the suitcase like so many marbles. It felt as if I was naked in front of the crowd. Scrambling to grab up all of my gear, shove it into the bag, and figure out how to get it to the car was an experience. I envied those with whole, attractive luggage. I felt like an Okie from the sticks, traveling with my plastic grocery bags full of "important stuff".
Going to the airport is a visual cacophony. Truly, the airport is a feast for the mind. Sometimes, I just - people watch. There are always those people who travel often, and they've got it all down pat. They breeze through security with their TSA Pre, shoes on, belts on, and completely in control. Then you see those who don't travel hardly at all, trying to finagle all of their gear, hold onto the forbidden water bottle and the jumbo bottle of perfume, arguing the necessity of removing shoes. You see people with super cute luggage, and people who could be cast as a bag lady, weighed down with taped together luggage that can't be pushed or pulled - maybe it's missing a wheel or two - and you become EXHAUSTED just watching that person attempt to travel and you badly just want to scream
get it together, already
And life is like that.
Only the luggage we have in life is invisible. Often, it comes from years of listening to other people's voices, other people's words, the impressions that other people have of you. Those impressions that they love to share. The luggage we pull comes from years of feeling less than, not important. It comes from elementary school power hungry bullies and coworkers who diminish in order to shine. It comes from heavy parental sighs and eye rolls of yet another drama.
The luggage we pull behind us may very well be constructed from blocks of coworkers who are antiworkers or disapproving looks when you do something contrary to civil societal thoughts of what a proper lady/gentleman/wife/husband/employee/son/daughter/parent/boss might do. It may come from abuse at the hands of family or friends, or, even, strangers.
It may come from years of being told that the way you feel, the thoughts you have, the decisions you make - are different and WRONG because they are not typical. After all, a good woman/man/wife/husband/mother/father/daughter/son - fill in your own blank there - wouldn't do or say or even FEEL such things.
Luggage that doesn't travel smoothly gets really, really hard to travel with after a while. It's just so MUCH WORK. It's depressing and defeating to watch others sail through TSA PRE and right onto the plane with their cute luggage on all four wheels when you are struggling with boxes and bottle and bags that don't want to travel in the same way at the same time, wishing all the while you'd learned your lesson.
What if we could abandon the luggage? Drop it off somewhere, leave the broken suitcases and taped up trunks on the side of the road, and drive away? What if we helped each other with the awkward luggage? What if we stopped for a second in our rush to judge, to condemn, to criticize, and offered to fix the broken wheel on the suitcase, to reconfigure the towering boxes, or just, you know, helped in some way and kept our mouths shut and our feelings about everyone else's failure to ourselves. What if, instead of trying to make ourselves feel better - we tried to make OTHERS feel better? Help other people have an easier travel experience.
What would happen to us?