Young@Heart: Do We Ever Quit Learning Lessons?

If we’d just…

It’s really the little things we do that save us time, money and stress. Like if we’d just look at the calendar before we go to bed, we’d catch those easy-to-forget appointments we’ve made for early in the day. Or maybe we should just make all appointments for afternoon when we know for sure we’ll be wide awake and have really had a chance to seize the day.

If we’d just get dressed first thing in the morning, we’d be free to go at a moment’s notice, instead of missing opportunities where pajamas aren’t welcomed as the proper dress.

And this one, hit home last weekend. If we’d just put name tags on our suitcases we wouldn’t end up without them if we leave them somewhere. See I didn’t have one on my carry-on because, well, it was going to be with me during the flight and I saw no reason to have my name and address flapping around for all to see. If someone asked, “Whose is that, I’d be there to say, “Mine.”

All went well when I took the tagless suitcase on the Alaska flight to Spokane, Washington where I spent four days at a Sweet Adeline regional competition. I roomed with the same three really good friends I shared a room with last year during competition. They are all BOs (Born Organized) and I’d forgotten how amazing these women are when it comes to being prepared! (I’ll get back to the suitcase fiasco in a minute. I’ll just tell you it was on the way home that I had a problem.)

I swear between the three women, they were prepared to preform minor surgery, repair mechanical devices, feed us in case the hotel restaurant closed down, dress for every kind of weather situation, and treat most physical ailments from sore throat and constipation to indigestion, headaches, and leg pains.

I love these women and truly appreciate how organized they are. I used to want to be that organized, but as I’ve matured, I’m so happy to be traveling light so to speak (hence the carry-on). They all had to check big suitcases to carry all their organized stuff.

One of my roomies just happened to be going on the same flight I was taking home and she offered to make shuttle reservations for both of us because “the shuttles fill up fast with so many leaving at the same time,” she explained. She took care of it the day before (of course). That morning (9:30) it turned out the van was only one quarter full, so my SHE (Sidetracked Home Executive) factor wouldn’t have prevented me from going in it.

We shared the van with four other Sweet Adeliners, all going on Alaska Air, and a couple that weren’t part of our group. When the driver asked us what airline, they said, “Southwest Air.” When we got to the airport, Alaska was the first stop and the driver got out our luggage, we tipped him and he was gone. We rolled our suitcases, talking and laughing, into the terminal. I love the new rollers because they allow you to walk beside your suitcase like it’s a child on roller skates (and like a child, you can’t leave it unattended on the slightest incline).

We headed for our security check, excited to be going home. I showed my ticket and ID to the TSA man and once okayed with a couple slashes from a green marker pen confirming that I was who I am, I headed to the line of people putting their stuff in plastic bins to be X-rayed. I took my shoes off, put them and my purse in a bin and lifted my carry-on to put it on the rollers headed for the inspection tunnel. That’s when I discovered it was NOT my suitcase! It weighed a ton! So much for walking next to a kid wearing roller skates! I couldn’t let it go in the tunnel as if it were mine! It could be loaded with guns for all I knew! I told my friend to go on and I backed out of security.

It’s a creepy feeling carrying around something that isn’t yours. What would you do with some other guy’s luggage? Would you open it? (No name tag on his either, probably because he thought the same thing I did.) I couldn’t open it! It’s just too personal. It’d be like breaking into someone’s car. On a trot, I rolled it over to the Alaska Airlines check-in and a young woman offered to help me check in.

“Uhh, I’m already checked in, but I’ve got the wrong suitcase. It belongs to someone going on Southwest Air.”

“Oh dear! I’d suggest you take it to the police office which is halfway to the Southwest Air terminal.”

It was 10:15 and my flight was going to board in ten minutes. I picked up speed and headed to the police office.

I pushed a button that rang a bell in their room and a woman’s voice came on, “Police, how may I help you?”

“I’ve got someone else’s suitcase and I need to leave it with you.”

Still through the intercom, “Do you know whose it is?”

“No, it belongs to someone going on Southwest Air and he’s got mine.”

“We can’t help you, unless you know whose it is.”

I loped back to Alaska Airlines and told the same girl what the police had said.

“You know, you could just leave it and it’ll end up at the police station anyway,” she said in a complicit tone.

Just then, I heard over the intercom, “Someone ihdio kejidh jinwoghg luggage syetgecome Southwest Air.”

I wasn’t completely sure the announcement was about my luggage, but I dashed toward the other terminal. It was 10:40 and the flight was scheduled to depart at 11:00.

To my delight the man with my luggage was there to greet me with my suitcase. Turned out he did exactly the same thing I did, only when he went to lift my suitcase, it was so light he almost threw it over his shoulder! We were both grateful to get our untagged property back. I whizzed back to the other terminal and just in time to make the flight.

Lesson learned.

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