Traveler Part 2

At my house, packing is an adventure. It begins several weeks before T-day and continues right up through the baggage check at the airport. There is always something that my bride, bless her heart as they say here in Wild and Wonderful, must add to the suitcase at the last second. Being an old Soldier, when traveling less is always better. For my wife, that means space available in my suitcase for all of her last second must haves. For instance, bags of chocolate eggs and jelly beans and other assorted Grandbaby oriented Easter treats and toys. About 4 pounds worth it turns out.

The airline sent me an email telling me to beat the potentially horrific lines it is a good idea to check-in on line before arriving at the airport. If I did, they advised, I could just drop my bags curbside and move on to my TSA engagement. Since my flight originated at a small regional airport for a connector flight, the horrific lines are generally a half-dozen people or less so I decided to forgo the online check in and let the airline use their paper and printer ink to print my scanable boarding passes.

Do you know what a blivit is? Right up to the last minute, I was still trying to fit the must have stuff into the two bags that the airline assured us could be checked for free. Ultimately, I reverted to an often traveled Soldier’s skill of making everything one owns fit inside one duffel bag. Each piece of clothing is rolled as tightly as possible and crammed into every available crevice. This is how one creates a blivit. A blivit is when 10 pounds of stuff is made to fit into a 5 pound bag.

Have you ever tried to hold a suitcase while standing on a bathroom scale? It is a tricky operation. I, unfortunately, know no other method of determining if the bags are over the 50 pound limit. After deciding that both were close, I surrendered and tossed them into the car.

After we left our car in the long-term parking lot and re-mortgaged the homestead to pay for said parking and with our rolling blivits, the wife and I headed for the terminal. You do know that as soon as we were around the corner that my wife stopped, looked me in the eye with a concerned expression and asked, “Did you lock the car?” I know I did because it is one of those unconscious habits, but I did not know for sure if I did. So I headed back toward the car pressing the car lock button on my key every few steps listening for the horn beep that would let me know it was locked. Naturally this did not occur until I was all the way back to within several steps of the car. It greeted me with blinking lights and two horn beeps. Two beeps is the car’s way of telling you that it is already locked and that maybe you should stop pressing the button. Sort of like the GPS gal’s declaration that she is recalculating.

As anticipated, there was no line to speak of. I was digging through my stuff for my electronic airline tickets when the lady at the counter rolled her eyes and told me that she only needed our passports. I did not ask why the cybermatron instructed me to print my tickets at home if I did not need them, but I wanted to ask. There is never a point when one should poke a gorilla in the eye, not to imply anything about the appearance of our gracious airline counter person. Just that it is not a good idea to irritate someone needlessly – if they could become more of an obstacle. I believe I learned that in one of those politically correct conflict resolution classes. Part of my transition from Army to civilian life.

She asked me how many bags the wife and I would be checking and I told her the allowed two. I placed the first bag, mine, on the scale and she gasped. It was 54 pounds. Horrors! Who knows what major problems a 4 pound overweight bag might cause a heavy lift 777, but I decided I should not poke that gorilla in the eye either. She directed that I would have to remove something from the overweight bag. She made no suggestion about what I might do with it. I only knew that the Grandbaby’s jelly beans would have priority over anything of mine – at least from Grandma’s point of view. First, she suggested that I weigh the other bag and it came in at 49.5. In the end, I had two bags that weighed in at fifty pounds each. The weight of my carryon bag increased by the difference. Don’t ask me. I cannot explain why that extra weight is fine in the passenger cabin overhead bin, but unacceptable in the cargo hold. It does explain, however, why I seem to always have to stop enroute to my seat and help some 90 pound 5 foot tall woman heave a 50 pound carryon bag into the overhead.

One gorilla pacified. On to TSA.

© 2011