Luggage

Day 19, 500 words, 31 days

In transit, Kolkata-bound.

Things went from bad to worse, very quickly.

Our flight was delayed from Penang to Kuala Lumpur by half an hour. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if we had just one flight to take, but we were catching another from KL to Kolkata, and we were officially cutting it very close.

When we did arrive to KL, we realized right away that the luggage we checked in wasn’t arriving anytime soon. We still had to re-check our luggage in for our flight to India, but we only had 15 minutes until boarding. After pleading our case with an Air Asia employee (which wasn’t getting anywhere), we decided that the best alternative was to have our luggage sent to India, without us, so we could catch our plane. We’d just have to find a way to pick it up the next day in Kolkata.

I still have no idea if our bags will be delivered to us, or if we’re heading back to the airport. I’m not sure if we’re getting them at all.

All I have are the clothes on my back, and all my work equipment – as in, camera, phone, Macbook. Thankfully, I have with me some leisure devices – an iPod I loaded up last night and my book, “Bird by Bird”. But I’m three-fourths of the way in it and I fear it won’t last me the rest of the week.

That of course, is a minor problem, compared to the larger one at hand – not having our stuff with us.

I’m trying to exercise a healthy perspective here. We’ve been “assured” that it will arrive in Kolkata, though when, we don’t exactly know. My luggage is just filled with clothes, and clothes are expendable. It’s a minor inconvenience, more an annoyance really, that I don’t have a fresh change of clothes tomorrow, but I’ll live. It’s not like I’m breaking much of a sweat by sitting on a four-hour flight.

These are just, things, that we’re missing. And if all goes well, not having them would only be temporary. As far as our traveling mishap goes, I suppose it could have been worse. We could have missed our flight entirely and ended up losing an entire day of work.

But we’re off to India with nothing more than what we have strapped to our backs. I didn’t envision packing this “light” on the first night, of course, and yet, I’m dealing with this unforeseen hurdle about as well as I could, considering I have no extra underwear to spare.

My friend, Nathan, and I actually managed to laugh off this misfortune, somehow finding the humour in the hypothetical event that we managed to miss our flight. We didn’t, of course, and that makes it funnier, and yet, we have another hurdle to cross tomorrow and I can only hope to take that in stride as well as I have, this one.

I’m proud of myself for not losing my cool. I just felt like I was at the mercy of a flawed system and figured it best to resign myself to any other inconveniences that might come our way.

Because maybe we don’t get our bags until tomorrow evening. If so, chances are I’ll be a sticky, smelly mess by day’s end. Of course, I can’t help but hope that’s the extent of my problems tomorrow. If the Lord could bestow extra mercy upon me and help me just get through the morning. A sudden surge of energy and optimism, supplemented by a  strong cup of black coffee, an air of unfamiliar confidence, and enough interesting points on my presentation to outweigh the unhelpful . Or at least, to make the apparent “unhelpful”, appear a little less so.

My stomach is now grumbling like a rabid animal , and I haven’t even really eaten anything all evening. A single sugar donut, followed by black coffee and a granola bar, do not, a proper dinner, make.

It’s 11:40 in the evening and the unsightliness of the fluorescent lighting the plane has to offer is killing any attempts at relaxation. If this is Air Asia’s idea of lulling us to sleep, I might have some suggestions. I’m not sure how long the snack delivery is going to take, but I’m praying that it wraps up soon so we can hit the off-switch on the lights.

Because it’s time for me to let it all go. Most of all, my consciousness. It needs a bit of a break.

———————————————

1 am. The break was short-lived.

It’s fun watching people sleep on planes. The lady that was next to me earlier managed to get herself an aisle seat across from me and proceeded to plop her face on a plastic bag. One man looked downright worshipful, with both of his hands pressed upon his face as though his sleep weren’t merely a state of unconsciousness but a spiritual experience.

Me, I sit straight up, arms crossed, and elbows in, slipping in and out of a daze. At times my eyes droop heavy and are hardly open. But right now – I’m wide awake.

I should be grateful that we’re gaining about an hour and a half of sleep once we arrive. But because the sleep cycles are broken up, it might not matter. I’m preparing for a rough, zombie-like morning, and I can only hope our workshop participants are especially gracious hosts.

Considering that I’m even on a plane, thousands of miles above sea level, en route to a place I’ve never been, these sort of inconveniences won’t undermine the gift of travel. Perhaps these aren’t the perks of the job, but I hope, still, in the surprises that await us, whenever we packs our bags and go.

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