Improbable vs. Probable, and the role of Preparation

Full Disclosure: I’m out for blood. In this particular instance blood in the form of restitution. I am not writing this post solely to achieve this goal, I’ve got to write about something, and the gift of Level 9 Paranoia is unapologetic about its ability to infuse itself into nearly any inane occurrence I might experience out there in my world. So, do I want to rave on like a lunatic about how disappointed I am to have arisen this morning to find that Jet Blue didn’t make good on its promise to deliver our luggage yesterday evening? Of course I do. There’s not much of value in that one bag that my wife and I had co-packed with just enough possessions to cover our four day journey to Austin to see our family and a few friends. Also, I am far from cranky about it. I’m super appreciative that we made it to our destination in one piece. And, if I have been informed correctly, since it has been twenty-four hours since we arrived, and we still don’t have our stuff, we can and will submit our receipts (up to sixty dollars) to Jet Blue in order to cover the items we deemed essential to not losing a whole day to the incompetence of someone, somewhere-who made sure our bag took a trip from John F. Kennedy Airport to Seattle, via Long Beach, and then back.

Since the minute my wife delivered the news about our missing bag to me while I stood in a long rental car line, I’ve been wearing a pretty shiny optimism hat about the whole thing. And while I’m a little saddened that no one from Jet Blue bothered to phone us last night to tell us our worldlies still weren’t on the way, and actually hadn’t even left the airport yet, I’m living the advice I had tattooed on my arm five or six years ago and surrendering to however this plays out. And in the mean time, we’ve been having a sick-good time out at LBJ. It’s hard to be upset when you are surrounded by so much love, beauty, and are saddled atop a bright yellow crotch rocket (sans wheels) skimming across the lake while taking in the smiles of family and strangers. I’ll live without this bag, and live well-and if you’ve stayed with me this far, I’ll be grateful that this more than probable scenario and inconvenience is all that came to pass. Because, on the 3rd of July and a few of the days prior, I had an infinite amount of less-than-probable situations playing out in my head that revolved around one of my favorite things to do: travel via flying machines and deal with all that entails.

The LAST thing I’d given any significant thought to was having Jet Blue lose our bag, even as I am aware that it happens to people every day. I don’t care why it happens, it just happens, and no amount of uprising against the airlines and their inability to make absolutely sure your bag makes the same journey you do, is going to completely remove the chance of it happening from the travel-equation. Will I check luggage again? Yes. I’ll roll the dice again, confident that lightning does, indeed, strike twice-but dammit, I like my liquids and gels, and I also enjoy the illusion of roaming freedom that I experience when my hands are free of any handles, cups, bags, satchels, and the like. It’s a physiological feeling that works a psychological number on me in airports and even out in the world-for me, no matter where I am headed, having my hands free of any responsibility leaves me feeling really really swell about dealing with all the other improbabilities my conjuring mind might claim to foresee.

I’m not going to bore you with every little twist I dreamed up before getting on what hopefully won’t be our last successful flight. For one thing, my laptop’s charger is in that cursed but well-traveled piece of luggage. And, if you’ve been paying attention to me here, than you should have a pretty good idea of what kinds of things I had prepared for, and then you can laugh extra hard at me for having given zero thought to the most obvious of them all.

I’m No Claire Danes

We returned to the states yesterday from Central America – Liberia, Costa Rica to be exact. If you’ve ever been to that airport, you know it’s a tiny, predominantly open-air joint with a relaxed atmosphere, and in my opinion, adequate security. If you were to compare their passenger preservation procedures to those in stateside airports, you might not come to the same conclusion. No one asked me if I’d packed my own bag for instance, and that’s fine since I’m not in the habit of paying someone to do it for me yet. A good deal of the luggage yesterday, just shy of all of it to be honest, had been packed by my better half. It matters not, because even if I had packed all five of those bags, put every item in them before sealing them, I’d still have stood in line during customs thinking the very same thing I think every time I enter or leave a country: I hope I’m not transporting something illegal that a handsome stranger managed to stuff into my bags while distracting me with his handsome-man smoke and mirrors abilities.

Since I have a strong hatred for knickknacks in general, you’ll rarely find me coming back from anywhere with anything anyway, and so I can easily speak a solid ‘no’ from my mouth when border agents inquire as to whether I’m bringing back anything into the states. But after I say that ‘no,’ it is proceeded by the thought, ‘other than the drugs, guns, or monkey brains delicacy some stranger of ill-repute, but with a devilish charm, put into my luggage.’ My wife just unpacked our bags this morning, nothing of the sort in any of them, just like always, save a stowaway spider that might single-handedly bring New Jersey to its filthy knees. You’d think after years and years of making it back home without incident, and no narcotics some mule-trainer hits me up for later, that I’d just come to grips with the fact: I’m no Claire Danes.