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Thursday, November 16, 2006

En Route to Nashville

Getting there is half the fun, right? Earlier this evening, a small group of RCWP colleagues made their way from Lansing’s Capital City Airport (look at their happy faces!) to Nashville. While we look calm here, our flight connecting flight was tight, as we had to rush through the terminal in Cincinnati (only to trace their steps back to the gate for their connecting flight, leaving just ten short minutes after the previous one had landed). But, we eventually found ourselves in Nashville. Most of us went on to take shuttles and cabs to their hotels. And one, who found himself, but not his luggage, had to wait.

Now, see, I am usually a light traveler. All carry-ons for me, a tip learned from my father the road warrior. But, as I planned for this year’s NWP Annual Meeting, knowing that I would have the advantage of a ride with a colleague from the airport, I took the luxury of packing the big suitcase. The one that you have to check. The one that, inevitably, will get lost.

In Lansing, I kind of chuckled to myself when the man at the counter handed me a baggage claim number. Who ever needs these things, I wondered, not knowing that my skepticism would soon be part of my undoing. Now, it would be even worse if I had throw that little sticker away, and make a better story, but I didn’t. So, back to the story and my arrival in Nashville.

There is that moment of excitement that one gets, like a pet waiting for its owner, when your bag comes out the chute at the airport. You know what I am talking about because I have seen more than one person crooning, “There it is, there it is!” as if a long-forgotten childhood toy, a distant, well-loved relative, or winning Lotto ticket came flying out of that chute. But, there is that moment of sadness when you, and perhaps a handful of others, are standing there, the anticipation waning, the concern beginning to mount. Will I see my bag soon? Tonight? Ever?

As the line shut down and the lights went off, I knew my fate, I headed to the lonely corner of the airport where beleaguered travelers find themselves. When I went to the counter—you know, the one in the little room off to the side that says “Baggage Claim,” as if you will actually claim something while you are there—I was one of only two people waiting. Apparently, at least one other person made the plane in Cinci while their baggage didn’t. When I got up to the counter, I was asked the typical information. Name. Flight. Bag description.

Have you ever tried to describe a suitcase? If you haven’t, they have a handy-dandy guide, laminated, resting on the counter to help you differentiate between hunter and forest greens. Thank heavens.

Then, the kind clerk looked up my baggage claim ticket number. My saving grace! “It will be in at 9:00,” he said politely. I hope I didn’t sound rude when I replied, “Do you mean 9:00 PM or 9:00 AM?” He smiled, and said “PM,” not saying much more after that. Hotel. Cell phone number. Sigh.

So, this is all to say that my Nashville adventure is off to quite a start. Having never lost a bag myself, I have never had the privilege of having an airline lose one for me either. Hopefully those unscrupulous folks who might tamper with unattended luggage don’t get their hands on my stuff and it is delivered safely to my hotel later tonight. If not, well, I, well… Well, I hope that my little baggage claim ticket helps me hit the suitcase lottery.

See you all tomorrow at the NWP Annual Meeting!

PS – My ride came in an hour late from his flight in Detroit, as did my luggage. So, we finally left the Nashville airport and got to the hotel. Whew…


Blogger Nobis said...

You're not alone. I see your post is dated 1:17 am. I just got into my room too, at 1:19 am. Lovely weather we're having, too!

1:27 AM  
Blogger cossondra said...

Stasha and I made it, after the comedy of errors... but alas, our luggage is yet in Detroit to be delivered tomorrow morning. Anyone know how to make a toga out of a bed sheet?

1:53 AM  
Blogger Andrea Z said...

Too funny! My blog post is so similar to yours...the worry about the bags, the stress of flying. It makes me long for the mini-van...
Not to brag, but my luggage *did* arrive. But only after such a turbulent flight that I finally learned what the air sick back is for. It looks like I survived to blog another day.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Bud said...

Oh. Yuck. Glad the bag made it.

12:02 PM  

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