Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baggage Claim

By Mendel Cohen

Sometimes I wonder: Do suitcases get anxious?

Do they ever think: "There are so many of us! Oh man, I'm just another piece of baggage on the long line, waiting to be moved around"? Do they have moments of self-loathing ("I am a big fat heavy red suitcase") or jealousy ("Wow, that's a nice looking blue carrier over there... he made it to priority class and executive baggage...")? Do they get afraid when being checked-in and left to go down the dark tunnel alone, to the unknown?

Do they feel violated, when they go through a security check, being opened up, sifted through and examined by complete strangers?

Do they feel relief at the trip's end, being wheeled on a porter's trolley, snuggling comfortably in the cab's trunk?

Are they concerned about what is being packed into them?

Sometimes I feel like a piece of luggage: sitting on a carousel, finally arrived from yet another extensive flight. Being moved from here to there, ending up at one place and then moving on to the next journey, arriving at another destination, rolling through another baggage claim area....

Moving on a carousel, traveling through a system. Feeling like one small nothing amongst so many others; often finding it hard to express oneself.

However, like that piece of luggage, my exterior self is almost besides the point; a bonus when attractive and pretty, but not essential. The interior, what is inside the package, is what really counts.

Am I well-packed?

And care when packing is crucial. Cleaning and folding and arranging with love and care; sifting through what's important to take along, and what can be left behind. Protecting the valuable, fragile things. Not allowing too many unnecessary "extras" that would add more burden and excess weight and result in some unpleasant bureaucratic haggle.

What is put inside of me is what I will be when I arrive, further down the trip. Is it all good? Will it remain in place? Or will it get creased and dislodged en-route? If it does, will it still survive?

And yes, the security check. It's an imperative part of the process, monitoring that everything inside is safe, and supposed to be there. Of course only authorized personnel have the right to check.

There are times I know: I'm that piece of luggage, sitting on the carousel.

The long carousel is time; it moves, whether we like it, or whether we are ready, or not. It is no good falling off, or being left behind.

And there is (nearly) always somebody at the other end, waiting for us (im)patiently; hoping we are safe; anticipating our arrival, and looking out for us, with such diligence.

How happy is the traveler when his belongings arrive, whole, intact and on time!

Yes, I'm just another piece amongst countless others. But I have the ability to make all the difference: to the people I encounter, and in the life I wish to lead. I belong to somebody. People await my arrival; anticipate our next encounter.

How good it is to be moving along a secure and structured line!

At times I might be left alone, given independence, and be compelled to fend for myself. But I have been checked-in at the right desk, guided and sent in the right direction.

I am on a long journey. Sometimes I'm at places where I feel at home. Sometimes I am homeless and lost; I feel misplaced, wondering: where will I end up? But G-d has packed me well: with morals, values and lessons that I most need. He, personally, checked me in. He even tracks me down when I get myself on the wrong plane and makes the arrangements get me back on the track.

Some parts of the journey are out of my hands: lazy baggage handlers, power failures, delayed flights. I encounter interruptions and turbulence. But the crucial thing is that I'm a well-made piece of luggage; I won't fall apart during transit.


Der Shygetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Der Shygetz said...


I try to make sure that my luggage is filled with several different types of contraband substances as well as far more liquor than is allowed by law.

This way, if it ever gets lost I know where to look for it - at customs! And usually I just agree to split the contents of my luggage about 60-40 with the kind and friendly customs officers and I am on my way.

es said...

Blah blah. I totally didn't read it. If you are gonna just be quoting from another website, a link would suffice. No need to clog up your blog with other ppl's words. Tell me stuff about you.

Der Shygetz said...


Hmm...maybe she is busy and wanted to share something she finds meaningful even though she has no time to post anything original.

The post is a good one and well written - now shove that in your luggage!

the sabra said...

LOLLL Es! Seriously, I was chuckling so hard (ach alright, COLLL). I love you man.

Shygetz, true and thank you but in general, for es you don't gotta defend me and you definitely gotta speak politely and respectfully and kindly. SHE IS A QUEEN. (that fit in here, i pronise)

(mum, ya like that last word? heehee)

Der Shygetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Der Shygetz said...


Awww..I'm sorry - I didn't read the comments on any of the old posts so I did not know who es is! As I am of course the trollest of all trolls, everyone looks like a troll to me!

Ksiva vachasima toiva to you, and es, and everyone else here!

Also, a friendly reminder that you can order Creedmoor'e esrogim, each one weighing 5-10 kilos, with juicy red fruit and black seeds and a thick green rind, for just $2000 worth of food stamps this year!

And we still have a few places left on our yearly kapoores flight to Thailand where the Admou"r shlugs an elephant af kapoores with a crane....

Pennie said...

wow - what a brilliant little piece - and oh the memories it brings to mind.......when was it - oh ya 3 days ago wonder i still remember

the sabra said...

4:01 am drunken laughter, ah?

the sabra said...

gosh I wish I would remember what the drunken laughter was all about.