Sandy speaks on matters of life and mirth.
Monkeys are seldom present.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Can a Bag Really Have A Weight Problem?

I'm currenty speeding from O-Hare airport (which, during my brief stay there, I discovered is named after a famous fighter pilot. Just thought you'd like to know.) onboard a small minibus, which has been christened with the somewhat overdramatic title of 'The Lincolnland Express'. My flight from Minneapolis, where I was staying with my family, was fairly painless. As ever in my travels, it was the eve of the day of travel which provided the excitement. Coming from Edinburgh to Pennsylvania, it manifested itself in lost tickets and my travelling companion locking his bags in an unoccupied flat. The night before I left Camp to head to Minneapolis, somebody got fired, and I got hopelessly lost in the forest. All par for the course, really.

The fiasco this time revolved, of course, around my packing. I arrived in Minneapolis with one bag. My parents had brought another one over with them when they visited my Minneapolis family earlier this summer. Following so far? In addition to this, I had with me a backpack, and my parents brought my laptop with them in another backpack. Actually, come to think of it, there's a satchel packed into one of my suitcases for when I get to Illinois, but mentioning that would just confuse things.

Confused yet? Good. Now, as I was saying, I had my two large bags, and my laptop backpack, which was to bee my carry-on. All other small bags were stowed away in the larger bags. I spent about 20 - 40 minutes packing all my stuff away, which wasn't easy - fitting a year's worth of stuff into two bags can be pretty tricky like that. About 10:00 PM, my aunt pointed out that, even though I was flying domestic, it was probably still a good idea to take my passport. Good point, I thought. I'm ahead of the game, I smiled smugly. I opened my bag, and took out my lockbox. "It's right in here." Unfortunately, the lockbox was locked. Guess where the keys were? Inside my backpack. In the bottom of the bag I'd just packed.


So, I unpacked that bag as best I could, scrabbling my way to the bottom of the bag. I pulled out the backpack, and guess what? No keys. Uh-oh. I repacked the entire bag (not an easy feat) and then turned to my carry-on laptop bag. I unzipped the side-pocket, and, of course, there they were. I unlocked my lockbox...and my passport wasn't in there. Great. I started to get the sinking feeling I'd had before, except that last time it had involved lost tickets, and had resulted in a last minute call to two airlines, and a very hectic weekend. I didn't have anything like that time, as at that point I had about eight hours till my flight left. Me being me, of course, I didn't tell anyone that I couldn't find my passport, as I was terrified of looking stupid. With the other prospect being the utter derailment of an entire year of schooling, it was good to see I had my priorities correctly sorted. I proceeded to check through my carry-on multiple times, both my large bags, unpacking and repacking the four or five times, before searching the entire house, all the while striving to 'act casual', so my relatives didn't twig that something was up. Having spent about an hour doing this, I checked my carry-on bag one last time. And there it was - right where I could have sworn I'd looked about twenty times.


But the fun doesn't stop there. Oh, no no no no! Because, having finalised everything that was in the bags, I remembered that there was an limit on the weight of my checked baggage. So off we went again, wheeling out the scales, and futilely trying to balance a very large case on what seemed like a very small set of scales. Depending on the scales used, both cases seemed to range from just under the allowed weight of 50 pounds to about twelve pounds over. This prompted a frantic display of packing and repacking, culminating in me abandoning a bag in its entirety, and replacing it with a larger one. After about an hour, we figured both bags were roughly about maybe 50 pounds.

So this morning, my cousin accompanied me into the airport, so that if anything was too heavy, I could load him down with non-essentials to bring me back under the weight limit. We queued up for some time, before finally reaching the check-in desk. I dumped my first bag on the scales, and waited with bated breath...47 pounds! I exhaled loudly. Now for the next one. I groaned as I saw the dial read 52 pounds. I frantically started calculating what I could leave behind. I could get more bodywash in Urbana, right? Nobody needs such a big towel - maybe I could make do with a facecloth till I got a new one. Did I really need that pot of marmite? What about...

My panic-stricken reverie was interrupted by the check-in associate smiling at me, and saying 'Oh that's fine. Two pounds is nothing really."

What? "Are you sure?" I asked, almost as if I wanted to argue with her. (At this stage I'm not entirely sure I didn't - I'd got myself all hyped for an argument, and now she was backing out - who did she think she was?)

"Absolutely. Don't worry about it." I could have kissed her.

I didn't, of course. We are at Threat Level: Orange, after all.