Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Luggage Lunacy

As a few of you know I usually travel overseas once a year. Living in Australia so far away from just about everywhere, I feel the call to explore, discover, learn about other places/people in our beautiful world.

BUT before I can leave my destination airport there is a ritual to go through which I would like to share with you all.....a detail of modern life that never fails to amaze and mostly amuse me, it the way normal-looking people behave around airport baggage carousels.

We all get off the plane, traipse along endless dreary corridors and queue through Passport Control without incident, but then the weary but still basically civilised crowd hits the luggage-collection area and is transformed into a crazy, wild-eyed mob! Men in executive suits and women in smart-casual clothes suddenly become raving lunatics.

The first sign of this lemming-like fever is the sprint to be as close as possible to the point where the bags appear from the great hidden beyond that is the airport baggage handling area. I always deliberately stand on the far side to try to avoid the really mad people. Having established a comfy spot where I can see what's coming, but where there is no one with an overly aggressive demeanour too close, I settle in for the wait.

But no matter how unappealing my spot in the hierarchy of prime carousel-watching real estate, after about 15 minutes, when I am feeling a certain claim over my territory, someone will come and stand right in front of me, leaning in over the conveyor belt, so it's suddenly impossible to see anything, let alone grab my bag should it ever appear.

I try to rise above it by attempting to understand the behaviour I see around me. I can appreciate that, at the end of a long journey, everyone just wants to get the hell out of there - and then there is the issue of the taxi queue. But, really, is it going to make that much of a difference to the big picture of your journey if you have to wait two more minutes to grab your bag?

Rational thought doesn't seem to come into it. There is a kind of demented group obsession to see the bag. Then get the bag. Woe betide you if you're in the way when Mrs Grabby has spotted her case coming along. She'd club you to death to get at it!

There seems to be a great fear of not getting the bag off the carousel immediately. What do they think will happen if they can't get to it the first time and it goes back through the rubber curtain? Have they confused the moving luggage carousel with the set-up at a crematorium? Do they think their bag will be taken straight into an incinerator? Surely they have seen the strange purple suitcase that goes round and round in every luggage-collection hall on earth? Wait five flipping minutes and your bag will come round again like a tired slice of mackerael in a conveyor-belt sushi joint.

The philosophical me asks could we please rise up and end this collective luggage lunacy? All together now: ohmmmmmmmmm.....

Post Script
Now I was not going to mention philosophy in this post as Roban (Flygirl) commented I was too philosophical for her at this point in time (I totally agree I go overboard sometimes) and Annemarie (McMGrad89) asked does my brain hurt......yes when I don't get enough sleep........BUT I had to slip it in didn't I!!!!

I took this photo while barging in France in June this year......just look how orderly these cows lined up to have their photos taken....we can learn alot from them.


Anonymous said...

I loved your description of the madness which overcomes people at 'baggage reclaim'! It was with a great sense of freedom that we flew to Inverness with just 'carry on' luggage for a week....no queues, no wait, straight from the 'plane to the hire car and I didn't miss anything I WOULD have brought on a trip with a larger suitcase.
Very appropriate track- Dire Straits 'So Far Away'!CJ.

Fly Girl said...

How funny! The cows look like they're standing in line waiting for their luggage to come off the carousel!

I've noticed the same thing and am parked over on the far side (near the far turn) patiently waiting for my luggage. The last time my daughter and I flew to California; however, we took only our carry-ons. That was pleasant zipping through the airport. We shopped a little too much, though, and had to check a bag for the flight home.

Thanks for the song! I knew it would be a nice addition to have it at the top of my playlist, but I'm having problems accessing my playlist. (Maybe I should just start over?) I absolutely love the songs you've chosen -- especially the ones from the 80s. One of the best decades for music as The Cars, REM, and others hit the scene.

And don't mind me and my limited brain ability. Remember, I spend my day engaged in these conversations:

Me: "Who can explain why the character decided to sell his clarinet?"

Student: "What character?"

Me: "The character we just read about."

Student: "When did we read about a character?"

Me: "Just then. We just finishd reading about the character."

Student: "Oh, I thought we were reading a story."

JUST KIDDING! My students are much better than that!

McMGrad89 said...

I think that is the funniest point of view on the luggage carousel I have ever heard. Definitely true, though. I have been flying since I was 5 and it hasn't changed in the 30 something years. The saddest feeling however, is the let down feeling you get when you decide to be the patient waiter and stand back and watch the mele' only to find your luggage has not made it to its final destination.

avtcoach said...

Love the post! Human behavior is so interesting. I do hate lines and will stand back to avoid them. I will go extremely early to a football game or theater production just so I don't have to be in the crowd. As for my luggage, I make sure there is an extemely hideous bow on it so that I can recognize it from a distance. Also, I love fly girl's idea ...just take a carryon. It is freeing! There is a human condition that I find so annoying. That we think there is not going to be enough for us, that someone will get more, get it sooner, or faster. Today an older gentleman let me go first through a door into the dry cleaners. He got to his parking spot first, he got to the door first. When I got inside, I told him to go first. He had 3 shirts and I had many. He was annoyed that I wanted him to take his rightful place in line. The reason was that he wanted to be a gentleman and I took it away. So much for trying to do the right thing! So, will you be taking a carryon for your next adventure?

JenX67 said...

I love your play list. Losing my religion - such a Gen X mantra for so many.

McMGrad89 said...

Hey, do you think we can make it through our time in Florida AND Norway with just carry-on luggage? Life would be so much easier.