28 February 2014
I went to Florida by plane recently. And thinking about it after, I realized how programmed we’ve become and how impetuous and carefree we’re no longer allowed to be. All the bush-pilot bounce has been bleached out of us. No longer do we run, last-minute, with a “sorry-to-hold-up-the-takeoff” look on our faces to get on a plane. But we’re forced by obvious circumstance to accommodate to new realities. Not a bad, but a needed, thing, although it necessarily sands off our carefree edges. Now to be lightsome characters we get tattoos or chase favorite singers around the country…in a Tesla…or upgrade an Android phone every 15 minutes or toss back $15 martinis. How rad.
Now to show how bumptious we can be, we push the limits of carry-on luggage. Let’s see if I can get away with my roll-away suitcase, my shoulder satchel, a bag with a sandwich, a drink, chips, a newspaper, a jacket and a hat (we’re flying into colder weather) and a camera swinging around my neck. I’m just being irrepressible, Stewardess. After all, you made me show up early, show ID, stand on line, take off my shoes and my belt, empty my pockets, be scanned and then be patted down, if the penny I neglected to take out of my pocket sets off the x-ray machine. And, generally, you make me feel that I have to prove my worthiness to fly on your airline.
But then from the service desk there came an announcement to the seated minions waiting to board, “We have a full flight today and finding overhead space for baggage might be a challenge. Any volunteers to check baggage?…no cost.” Nothing I like better than worrying about whether, by the time my group is called to board, there won’t be any overhead space left…like playing musical chairs. So I jumped up with that old irrepressible bush pilot grin and, volunteering, said, sure, let me be the first. And then, armed with my checked baggage claim check, I watched everyone else jousting in luggage combat, while I whistled my way down the aisle to my seat. I was carefree again.
When a door opens up, my father-in-law used to say, walk through it. Checked baggage is the best thing since paved highways…especially when it’s free. And only if it arrives at the same airport you do. In this case it did and was waiting for me when I got to the carrousel.