Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 25
Weighing the optionsHow to deal with extra baggage
BY ROB KRIDER
People have fears. It is natural to be scared of stuff. Fear is important because it keeps us alive. We need to be afraid of things like great white sharks, because if we don’t fear sharks, we could become great white shark food. Being on any species’ diet plan is not good for your thighs—just ask a chicken. So, for good reason (mostly because of the images on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week), I have a very healthy fear of sharks. In fact, every year for about a month after Shark Week, I am not only too scared to go into the ocean, I’m too scared to take a shower. Sure, smelling like a bum for a month after Shark Week is pretty irrational. But it isn’t the only completely irrational thing I do because of fear. One of my other great fears is of weighing my luggage at the airport.
My bags never come in below the required 50-pound weight limit, because I’m a married man who travels with a member of the female species. You see, my wife, whom I love, has a traveling requirement that equals taking a metric ton of clothing and bathroom products with her everywhere she goes. To avoid hassles at the airport skycap counter, I could attempt to limit the amount of items she packs while she’s getting ready for a trip, but a safer bet would be to swim in shark-infested waters dressed in a seal costume. Standing over a woman while she tries to pack and telling her “no” is a quick road to divorce court, or worse, death (although my divorced friends have told me death is a pleasant alternative to divorce court). Me? I want to live, stay married, and I want to go on vacation, so I’m certainly not going to tell my wife what she can or cannot take. She tells me what I can take (mouthwash), and I do what I’m told.
My wife has two-dimensional vision, which means she can’t fathom why everything she has in her entire closet won’t fit into a single piece of luggage. And she is determined to only bring one bag, because she doesn’t want to pay the extra airline fees for a second bag. Eventually, she does manage to squeeze 17 outfits into a single piece of luggage for a three-day trip. I bring my own bag with the mouthwash. The moment I try to toss her bag of rocks into the trunk of our car, I know it is never going to get past the check-in counter.
“Honey, this bag seems like it might be a bit heavy for the airlines.”
“It’ll be fine.”
“OK, but I think it’s above 50 pounds.”
“It will be fine.”
“I hope so, because the last time … .”
“I said, IT WILL BE FINE!”
This is where the fear comes in. My blood pressure starts to rise. I begin to sweat and worry about trying to get our bag on the plane. Now I can’t blame this whole luggage weight fear solely on my wife. The airlines have a part in this nonsense, too. There has been a continuous cat-and-mouse game going on between the airlines and the customers regarding luggage. First the airlines said, “Cheap flights, $80 a ticket, carry-on is free, any checked bags will cost $1,000 each.” So customers started packing enormous carry-on bags to avoid checking luggage. Then the interior of the plane became ridiculously filled with oversized bags, and people had no place to put their luggage (or their legs). So the airlines said, “Fine, a small carry-on and your first checked bag is free, but each additional bag will be $2,000.” So customers bought the biggest suitcases ever made and then filled them to the point that they weighed 120 pounds each. The airlines were losing money on workers’ comp claims for back injuries to luggage handlers, so now we have the current rules: “One small carry-on for free, and one free checked bag that weighs less than 50 pounds, any extra checked bags or an overweight bag will cost $3,000.”
My wife is convinced she can beat the airlines at their game, but she has absolutely no concept of weight. Inevitably, while standing in front of a long line of people waiting to fly to their destination, we put our luggage on the scale and it tips in at 60 pounds, 10 pounds over. This causes me stress. My wife doesn’t care. She will just “adjust,” which means taking all of our bags, some checked, some carry-on, and laying them all over the airport floor. Then she opens all of our bags, so everyone can see our underwear and ridiculous amounts of bathroom supplies, and then she starts tossing stuff everywhere. She moves this here, that there, and voila! We are still too heavy. So she makes more adjustments, but some things, like liquids and fingernail clippers, can’t go in the carry-on bags because of security. That means we have to move more things around to try to make weight. The whole thing gives me hives.
While we play the “we aren’t going to pay the extra fees” game, other customers are waiting and begin to look impatient. I start to feel very self-conscious. My wife is oblivious to the other customers. She just keeps throwing stuff around until she’s happy. I just want a hole to open in the floor and take me away. Forget the vacation. I don’t enjoy the process of traveling.
Eventually, after way too long, we find the happy balance of her bag and my bag each weighing 50.1 pounds each (they give us the tenth of a pound because they feel sorry for us). We have all of the extra weight in our carry-on bags, which are now stuffed with underwear and high heels. As we walk away from the check-in counter and head toward security, my wife takes the opportunity to admit who was right: “See, I told you it would be fine!”
Sometimes Rob’s bags are stored on the front porch.