Karma and Buckles: Adventures with BOB

Airbus A320

Image by paul_houle via Flickr

Having already been traveling for eight hours by the time I stood in front of the bag drop for my flight, I have no problem believing that I was not as pleasant, well-spoken, or intelligent as I could have been and perhaps should have been. However, I thought I was pretty clear when I pointed at BOB (my big orange backpack) and asked if I would have to bring it over to the oversized luggage conveyor. I usually have to do this, since BOB has an awful lot of straps, buckles, and assorted things that can get caught on regular sized conveyor belts. The fellow behind the desk, looking more tired than I felt, which was saying something, assured me that it would be fine, so I hauled BOB down off my back and set about clipping all the buckles together and tightening the straps as much as possible, to reduce the odds of one of the loose ends getting caught in gears and shattering the bottle of Limoncello I was bringing back for some friends of the family. Important considerations.

As I stood up triumphantly from clipping and tightening all BOB’s straps and buckles in record time, as a courtesy to the ever-growing queue of people behind me, the fellow behind the desk (we’ll call him Fabio, because he looked like a Fabio to me) gave me a look that I had been most familiar with on the faces of ten-year-old Italian girls when I told them to do something so barbaric as take off their shoes. “You’ll have to take that over there.” Fabio said to me, and though I couldn’t see his hands, I’m sure he was wagging his finger at me.

Being the well-brought-up individual that I am (my parents are so proud… most of the time) I didn’t say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I guess I should have asked before I wrestled my 44-litre backpack onto this conveyor belt whether it was the right one or not, oh wait, I did, and you said it went here, now you carry it over there, if that’s where it needs to go.”

Really, BOB isn’t that heavy, especially since I had engaged in a concerted effort to jettison as much stuff as possible in the previous week, but once all the straps are clipped and tightened, it’s pretty difficult to get BOB off the ground, especially for someone who hasn’t been to the gym in four months and possesses a laughably small amount of upper-body strength. But I didn’t complain, I didn’t protest, except for the inevitable grunt of exertion that results from getting BOB off the ground at the best of times (I swear it helps).

Sometimes karma works though: BOB was the fourth bag off the conveyor belt at the destination. No mean feat when part of the cargo of an Airbus 320 packed like sardines. Or maybe BOB just missed me.

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