This holiday season finds us once again observing special days and periods of time many of us associate with events symbolizing matters of special significance. I appreciate, respect and recognize such celebrations including: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa. In honor of the very first one which started yesterday, here is my wish
H A P P Y
H A N U K K A H
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LUGGAGE AS EXCESS BAGGAGE
Travelers this holiday season from around the globe are, or will soon be, packing their bags in preparation for trips. Some may just go a short distance in their cars, others far greater distances. Some will have short day trips on an actual specific holiday, others may have trips of longer duration. Some will visit family or friends. Others may use the time as a vacation for shared time with another at varied locations within our country and the world.
Some of us aren't going anywhere. Instead, we're awaiting others to arrive with luggage in tow. Some may not have visitors from elsewhere, instead may enjoy a time with others in their local area, or even relish time to themselves. Certainly over the years, the numbers of people with whom I've celebrated the holidays has differed at various times from large groups to just two people.
Just as I spent my first Thanksgiving alone this year (see November Archives sidebar links to "Thanksgiving Alone"; "Adventure Alone On Thanksgiving,") there may well come a year, or years, when I will spend this holiday season alone, too. I can well imagine being quite content should that ever be the case, but I may never really know what my feelings may be in any situation until I actually have the experience.
This year, though, I look forward in the next few days to the arrival of loved family members who will be with me for about two weeks. I'll not engage in any part time work during that time, so in addition to what plans we've made, we'll be free to do as the spirit moves us. Sounds good, but I'm so far behind on holiday preparations I'll be lucky to catch up for the '07 season!
In the scheme of issues that matter, this sounds rather strange to say, but I find myself thinking about what luggage will accompany my visitors. You see, as I've been examining the contents of my home with an eye to what I should jettison as unnecessary space absorbers, I have become aware of my accumulation of luggage, some of which is clearly excess baggage.(see November Archives links on sidebar to "Old Things"; "Disposition of Old Things.")
My thoughts stray to my first luggage which came as a gift when I graduated from high school. The three-piece Samsonite set ranged in size from the large tourister piece to an intermediate size case, the much smaller obligatory boxy-looking overnight case with a mirror on the inside of the opened lid that is thought to be a necessity for a woman, all in a medium-dark preferred sky-blue color. This is luggage that withstands all assaults as graphic 1950's black and white television ads demonstrated. The outer case is hard, waterproof. I could stand on it; jump up and down on it, and a heavy man could do the same, and this luggage would be undamaged, able to tolerate all mistreatment whether I traveled around the world on a merchant ship, on the finest luxury liner, in an airplane or car, on a train or bus. Baggage people could throw it through the air, let it drop on a concrete surface and my luggage, all the possessions inside, would be intact and survive.
My beloved older brother gave me this gift of luggage. Later when he visited in his cross–country move from California to New Jersey, he allowed me to have a night out driving myself alone to town in his Mercury convertible with the top down. With the wind blowing in my hair that warm sultry night, I sensed the promise of adventure that life held for me as the car rushed forward down the highway toward I knew not exactly what. I just knew I wanted that feeling to last forever. I looked forward with great anticipation to my future, all the places I would accompany that luggage.
But first there was our senior class trip that included a visit to the New Orleans that has been altered in more recent years, having been subjected to the devastating Hurricane Katrina and the negligent government assistance. Those many years ago, after the pleasures of New Orleans, my senior class trip then took me first to the coast of east Florida, then its west coast, before we returned home. With my luggage dutifully christened, I took another auto trip further north on the Atlantic coast with my brother's family that included a new baby girl.
Then, with the luggage broken-in, the time had come for it to go to college. The suitcases did a yeoman's job getting me through those college years, back and forth to home, a few weekends, visits with new friends in their homes, off to competitive events. Those trips and all others required great tolerance from those cases, as I had a tendency to pack everything, and more, into them, often having to apply considerable weight just to get them closed.
Of course, I didn't begin to use all the items I took along, but just never knew when I might need some of those extra clothes or other items I crammed inside. Best to be on the safe side. Better to have too much than too little. Besides what if I had that rare experience of accidentally soiling clothes that couldn't be worn again until laundered and there was no time for laundry? So what if the odds of that happening were slim; I better be prepared for the possibility it could happen every day I was gone on any of these trips, was my point of view.
Suddenly, in only three short years, my college days were completed, as I felt a sense of urgency and went to school year round. The luggage was forced to accommodate an accumulation of those few years to not only take back home with me, but to leave that home the next day to return my parents to a northern Midwestern state we had left some years earlier for warmer climes. Once I returned to that earlier state of residence, the luggage continued to be given opportunities for trips in and about the state,as well as to other states. I generally packed to the limit as usual, with the luggage finding itself in the trunk of one of various cars I owned over the years. Along the way I purchased a miniature suitcase-shaped case much preferred for use over the overnight case, so I added it to this now four-piece hard blue Samsonite luggage set.
Perhaps in those years, a highlight for this luggage was a flight to a location outside our country involving a Miami layover on a hot night filled with heavy humid air that brought moisture exuding from my skin as I stood outside my room in the moonlight not yet ready for sleep. Later I learned this classic weather condition had preceded a hurricane that moved-in the next day soon after my flight's departure which included a short stop in Panama before reaching the South American country of Ecuador.
Upon arrival I had some concern the luggage had chosen to stop somewhere else along the way, but fortunately not too much time lapsed before the bags were delivered to me. I'm never quite sure when the luggage doesn't arrive when and where I do, whether or not the bags had a mind and agenda of their own, or if other more animate forces have come into play making erroneous choices that have influenced the outcome of the bags travel destination.
I had a fun, interesting and educational two weeks visit with family there, but the return flight with my young niece had an unscheduled departure delay of a day or so. I was told such a delay was typical of the more casual approach to time and schedules there. A stop in Peru, was followed by another unscheduled stop in Jamaica. This latter stop, when I first looked out the window as the plane was descending, left the visual impression we were going into the ocean. Since this wasn't a seaplane, for a short time it made an interesting diversion in this return trip. All the while I hoped my luggage would float and would not desert me willingly or otherwise. I was relieved when it was not required to float and later arrived on the ground when and where I did.
There were other trips, mostly to eastern U.S. locales, but eventually, those suitcases were treated to a honeymoon trip north, that included exploring the upper peninsula of Michigan. Then, there were all sorts of trips to the north, south, east, and west USA via auto and a few in a small single engine aircraft. Not too long after the honeymoon, luggage styles were changing with the bags exterior beginning to soften. Eventually, one Christmas I was given a new set of blue softer-cased luggage. I felt obligated to use it some. I never liked it as well as my Samsonite that symbolized so much to me -- freedom, adventure, travel.
There was no thought of parting with the Samsonite luggage then, and great reluctance now. In the meantime, the second set of softer luggage has given way to new luggage that is even more soft, with wheels and handles, partitions, more zippers and pockets than I can count. What this means is, that often I can't remember which pocket holds what. Oh well, I can still cram lots of my "stuff" inside, and it even protrudes outward to allow me to put in more stuff.
As if that's not enough, I still have my husband's old Samsonite hard luggage, and he had a piece even bigger than my biggest one. Then, there's also the newer softer replacement luggage he had. I'm not just sure, but I might even have a piece or two of my mother's older luggage stuck away somewhere around here. But, wonders of wonder, it's quite possible I might actually have parted with her old luggage, the age of which would have preceded my Samsonite. Seems to me I remember just some rectangular shaped boxes with snap locks and carrying handle. The exterior consisted of thin lightweight materials, perhaps a little thicker than a heavy cardbord, or maybe a thin plywood-like material that formed the suitcases shape.
Now that I've started thinking about the old luggage, and writing this, questions come to mind. Has the time come to part with some of this luggage as just more "baggage" amongst my belongings? Why am I keeping some of this luggage, anyway? Should I leave smaller pieces of luggage inside bigger pieces for storage, or should I use each of the individual bags to store other "stuff" inside, and then I can store the bags -- somewhere? Rental storage areas are not a solution for my needs.
I live in a California style one floor plan house -- no attic suitable for storage purposes, no basement at all, only my garage for storage, which has quite enough, thank you. How could life get so complicated? I've found these ponderings about luggage as excess baggage coming to mind ever since, on one of those earlier blog pieces I mentioned above, Buffy (see Arrrgh sidebar link) made a comment triggering these thoughts. As if I can't think of enough complex problems I need to work out, blogging friends have to introduce even more. Thanks a lot! ;-)