Something woke me up the other night in a cold, hot sweat. It was so disturbing I swore I'd write an article about it, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I should really start keeping a journal or, for that matter, learn how to write but, in the meantime, I'll tell this story in its stead; that of the tale of lost luggage.
Imagine, if you will, a journey undertaken by travelers unto destinations near or far but, regardless, requiring the assistance of airlines. If this sounds scary to you, surely you have traveled before or talked to someone who has. The security screening isn't just thorough, it's needlessly overblown and nothing I'd wish on even my own worst enemy or nearest brother in either direction of age.
The whole "shoes off" business is bad enough, especially when it comes to my tiny, sockless sandals that could no more contain a bomb than an ounce of wayward sand, but such needless necessity is the life we travelers live in the post 9/11 world, where the obvious tourist is subjected to the same nonsense rigmarole as the most obvious would-be terror-monger.
If you had thought your luggage was unsafe before the advent of the needless hassle that is the "post 9/11 security" then you can just imagine what it is t'day.
And this is exactly what (maybe?) has woken me up in a fight of sleepless fury on this very night.
Prior to 9/11, you could safely guess you'd arrive at your destination within plus-or-minus six hours of the intended time, but your luggage had no such expectation. Now, however, you might not even arrive at your destination at all and your luggage is thereby left to fare that much worse.
Left - Can never be too sure what's going on, but I'm pretty sure this is a member of my staff watching literally tons of luggage transit hither to thither with nary the pound of scrutiny it surely is expected to have had... and that ain't good.
When we tried to fly to Puerto Rico, we were almost headed-off at our first (of three) excessive checkpoints. Baby Dominic, so small as to remain in a stroller, refused to surrender his 100% cloth bear unto the X-Ray security scrutiny, the screeners remained unconvinced of his innards until such time as the bear was ripped from his arms and stuffed through the machine.
Plainly this innocuous bear could be an agent for evil, though no credible threat to any such ends has ever been conceived, devised, nor executed…. So Imagine how our luggage must have felt.
It would be easy, at this point, to suggest that what woke me from my slumber was nothing more than a bout of indigestion, the incessant screaming of the neighborhood roosters, or a common sense of understanding so ubiquitous, though somehow too simple to escape those governmental agents paid such meager billions, but it wasn't. It was something more than that, though what, only the history of these events will tell.
All I could fear in this hypothetical instance was that my luggage would be lost (for the first time in my pan-continental travels). That's the fear I faced, and it was a very real one at that.
Not because I know better (which I should), nor because it's happened to me (which it hasn't), but because I can see the luggage whirling all around me, and still I remain as powerless as a gnat to determine (or understand) it's whereabouts.
I'm beginning to think the gorillas who abuse my check-in luggage do more than insure my bags are battered. Now I'm starting to think they're the ones in charge of this whole banana-charade.
Although I awoke, snug in the wooly confines of my own bed, I can't help but think that this whole thing would be different, if only for the smallest of single factor... if our President was an aerospace guy, instead of an oil & cattle guy, maybe the lax restrictions wouldn't be on the testing of mad-cow and the foreign wars of oil, but instead slanted towards making routine travel for routine tourists more accommodating.
Al Gore was famously pulled aside for a 2nd screening in the wake of 9/11. Maybe instead of that, they should have put an extra ounce of effort into a real threat or two, and maybe in ways that don't cost billions, but save billions instead… but what do I know, I'm just a 4-year-veteran of the news business? What the heck do I know about senses common or otherwise?
Above - I know I'm pointing, even in this (my dream sequence), but isn't somebody supposed to be looking at this stuff?