Can you believe there needs to be a part 2, after my checked bag didn’t make it to Europe with me two weeks ago? Well, it happened again on the way back, only this one was twice as testing of my ‘don’t lose your mind’ credo. A quick refresher: First I found myself in Brussels while my bag was in Chicago. A week later, on the way home via Detroit for some freestylin’ with folks and their horses, I found myself once again separated from my luggage, which was still warming a spot on the floor of Frankfurt Flughafen (contraband French cheese working up quite a funk in there too) while I once again stood staring in silence at a luggage carousel that would bring me no joy.
It wasn’t just double trouble in that it happened twice on one trip, but in a second way as well. Thanks to an overly officious and underly sympathetic gate agent in Brussels, I was relieved of one of my two carry ons – the one with all my music and special player that allows me to speed and slow music on the fly as the horse trots or canters around in front of me. It’s not that I didn’t trust Lufthansa to reunite me with my now-two bags a day later, but I had a ten rider dance-with-your-horsie gig starting at 8:30 am, which as it turns out would be roughly 15 hours before the invisible elastic band on my bags finally brought them colliding into me in my hotel lobby. A quick check in the bag formerly known as a carry-on revealed that my metronomes had not been confiscated after bag handlers in Detroit accidentally turned one on. The consequent beeping brought the bomb squad rushing in, though why the same crew that dealt with the Underwear Bomber thinks terrorists in this day and age would resort to Wile E. Coyote-style explosive devices does leave me scratching my head.
I would like to extend a HEARTFELT thank-you-very-much to the patient and fun-loving folks who participated in the Midwest Dressage Association freestyle clinic last weekend. Everyone got to dance eventually, and if there was any grumbling I never heard – or even suspected – it. I hope the eversmiling, efficient mini-army of volunteers (headed by the undaunted Gail) have now recovered from the weekend schedule from hell. I am happy to say I have bounced back just fine. And no smile was wider in Vancouver Airport five days ago than mine when I saw my checked luggage chugging toward me on the conveyor. The camembert had really let itself go, and I could probably have found the bag using smell alone. I was rather happy to look around and see that there were no drug sniffing dogs on duty that day.
K-Rob’s Travel tip #2143: don’t bother pointing out to the robotic, yet sadistic European gate agent that it’s not fair that you were allowed these same two pieces when you flew from North America to Europe. This is the great conundrum of air travel. It doesn’t matter what your complaint is, you are guaranteed to be making it to someone who has no power (never mind desire) to change the situation. Airline and airport employees have developed their own kind of ‘learned helplessness’, to borrow a term from Equine Behaviour guru Andrew McLean (who features in the latest post on my other blog).
It’s a good thing I’m home now for a bit because based on the pile of EC press releases sitting in my inbox I have some digging and blogging to do over the next week. So many questions! Where is Markus? Who will be the next CEO?
In the meantime, if you haven’t visited LowDown these past days you might like to take a wander over there to see the very interesting dialogue I inadvertently provoked with some thoughts on the mounted demos at this year’s ONE AND ONLY Global Dressage Forum.