Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Saturday, July 01, 2006

You Don't Understand....I Smelled Really, Really Bad

One of the unfortunate consequences of taking an alternative route to McMama's house was that my luggage did not automatically take the detour with me. As I mentioned previously, the gate attendant with whom I spoke seemed to believe that my bags would be sent on to Buffalo with or without any intervention on my or his part and there was nothing I could do about it, so I might as well just shut up and sit down, because I wasn't going to get HIM to do his job and see if there was any way to get my flags on the flight to Rochester, NO SIRREE!!! By that point, I really didn't care, because I don't think I actually believed that I was getting on a flight to Rochester, anyway, so the location of my luggage was hardly my primary concern. But when I DID get on a flight to Rochester and I DID have to consider the lack of toothbrush, toothpaste and sleep wear I had available, the difficulty of not having my bags get on the same flight with me became more apparent.

It became even more apparent the next day, when I called baggage services and discovered that my luggage could be located in any one of three places, Buffalo, Newark, or Rochester, and there was no way to find out where they were without starting a claim, and by the way, while we're on the subject, why didn't you start a claim at the airport, and well, that would be because the gate attendant was wearing his cranky pants yesterday and didn't want to help me, and oh, well, we're probably not going to be able to find your bags for at least 24-48 hours, so I hope you have money to go buy extra underwear, or you're going to start to stink really soon, and I appreciate it but that's not really going to help because we crossed that bridge already. After being in either an airplane or an airport for 13+ hours the day before and sleeping in some of the same clothes overnight, I was not exactly minty fresh. Luckily for me, McMama vowed to tell me the minute I turned the corner into "too smelly to comfortably be around" and to hold the hose so I could stand under the running water with all my clothes on and lather up.

Anyway, the very, VERY nice woman helping me locate my bags did say that if I hadn't heard anything back by the evening, I should give them a call back and they'd see what they could do. And this is where I made a mistake, I think, because when we HADN'T heard anything by the evening and I DID call back, I listened to the chirpy little voice on their phone directory when it said that I could check the status of my claim by looking on the internet. By entering in the claim number the baggage services representative gave me, I could track my luggage without having to disturb their customer service line. And I didn't want to disturb them, because the woman with whom I spoke was so nice to me, and I was sure she was dealing with hundreds of customer claims that day. So I kept disturbing the internet instead, over and over and over again, with no change. (I really think I could have gotten faster service if I'd kept calling. Live and learn, I guess.)

When I checked again early the next morning and found there was STILL no change, I decided it was time to call back. Much as I didn't want to disturb the baggage services representatives, I smelled really bad, and my clothes felt like they could easily stand on their own without me. I wasn't quite so sick of them that I was ready to burn them, but we were walking a thin line, so finding my luggage was really in my best interest. When I got someone on the phone, after waiting my requisite 12 minutes, I told the very, VERY nice woman helping me that I would not be at all surprised if my bags were in Buffalo, and if she could just get someone to CONFIRM that for me, I would drop everything and drive to Buffalo to pick them up. She put me on hold. I rocked out to James Brown while I waited. McMama laughed at me. I waited some more. And then? Victory! The lovely woman came back on the line and told me it was time to drop everything - my bags were in Buffalo. EUREKA! I could take a shower and put real perfume on and clean underwear and clean clothes and I wouldn't smell like a homeless person! BRILLIANT!

So we went to Buffalo, and we picked up my bags. And I'm happy to report that everything was intact. My laptop had the same smears on the screen that it had when I packed it away. But I have given it some thought, and I have decided on a new packing strategy for the future. I have decided that the next time I take a trip, some very key items are going in my carry-on. A clean pair of underwear, so it takes longer for me to start smelling like the inside of a whorehouse. My toothbrush and toothpaste, so I have some recourse when my mouth starts to taste like ass. My perfume, so when I take a sponge bath (feeling, of course, that since I have to wear the same clothes non-stop, a full shower is rather pointless), I can still stink pretty. And cyanide pills, to slip into the gate attendant's drink if he so much as hints that helping me get from Point A to Point B with my possessions is outside his job description. I think that will ensure me a pretty comfortable trip, even IF my bags go missing again.


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