Sorry, Dale Chihuly
I expect people to grieve with me when my luggage gets lost. I want them to understand the gravity of the situation. I give them great detail about the sandals with the rainbow leather heel that are packed snugly away and how I have only worn them one time and I expect them to feel the pain that I feel. I tell them that I have a phobia about my shampoo and conditioner spilling on the inside of my bag and how while this may not be recognized as a mental illness, it is very, very real.
If that fails to gain a suitable emotional reaction, I tell them that my medication is packed in my bag and that it is an extended release prescription and my last dose is due to wear off any moment now. Then, I usually get the look of concern the situation demands.
But, when other people lose their luggage, I expect them to lighten up. "C'mon," I urge them, "let's have a few cocktails. Your bags will turn up. Who's ever heard of luggage disappearing anyway?" I took this approach with Joelle when I picked her up from the airport last. I think she was comforted by my cool, calm demeanor. I pointed out that there was plenty of shopping to be had in the area and that she looked so good in what she was wearing that she could totally wear it again.
We decided to wait in the piano bar in the atrium of the airport until her bags arrived or until last call. I love the piano bar. Drinking at the airport virtually guarantees that I will hold a conversation with someone interesting, or at least strange. We took a seat near a young hippie couple.
Joelle eyed their army drab duffel bags. Mournfully, she said, "they have their luggage." I helpfully suggested that she should travel with hideous luggage and maybe she wouldn't have this problem. Everyone knows that luggage only disappears or gets damaged when it is new or extremely cute. Joelle slumped lower in her seat and glared at the hippies.
The hippies saw Joelle's hostility as an invitation to join us. They had traveled from Eugene, Oregon for an art show. He was a glass blower. She was his girlfriend. Ignoring her, I made slightly sexual comments about blowing glass and other stuff that can be blown. I tried to impress him with my vast knowledge of glass art. The girlfriend turned to me and said, "not vases and sh*t. He makes dildos and butt plugs and bongs and stuff like that."
They invited us to hang out with them that evening. As much as I wanted to check out his dildo creations, I didn't imagine that they shared my preference in hotels. I prefer hotels with running water and they didn't look like they appreciated bathing. I politely declined, telling them that we'd love to but that Joelle had lost her luggage and would have nothing to wear.
The girlfriend turned to Joelle and said, "perfect."