Packing my tweezers drives me insane. I was packing for a series of airplane trips. I would be flying from Sunny Southwest Florida, up to very cold Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then flying south to somewhat warmer but still cold, Washington DC. And then I’d be flying back. I’d be doing all this flying over the course of 5 days. I had a formal event to attend in Washington, DC — and it was going to be held outside, so I had to pack a lot of bulky over coats, sweaters, long-johns, hats, scarfs and earmuffs. But I didn’t want to take that bag with me all 5 days of my trip because I couldn’t risk it getting lost before the big event Friday morning. So, I arranged to pack that big suitcase with the stuff I needed for Friday, and share the space with my daughter. And that is the bag where I could have packed my tweezers. For this flight, I took two carry on bags with me. I have to pack them carefully least the whole thing gets too heavy, because I’ve had rotator cuff surgery. (People, be good to your shoulders.) These bags would see me through Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Ordinarily in my every day life (when I am not traveling with The Flying Republic) my tweezers live in my purse. That is to say, I keep my tweezers in a little zippered pouch, in my purse. This is the little pouch in which I also have some lip balm, a pair of earplugs, some dental floss, and a small tube of hand cream. But when I fly, I have to take those tweezers out of my purse, and put them somewhere, at home. Then, I put my travel hygiene bag, in my luggage. It is pink with white polka dots,and is roomy and festive. And in that bag, is a pair of traveling tweezers.
Normally, that would be that, but this time, I needed the travel hygiene bag with me, so this time, I left my tweezers home. This may seem like a trivial story, except it is illustrative of the level of insanity that the TSA rules generate for hapless travelers. (Hapless travelers are automatically card carrying members of The Flying Republic.) Because not only am I trying not to bring any sharp, pointy, naughty things with me on my carry on bags, but, I also have to make sure I round up and isolate my liquid items into a quart size bag for proper presentation at the TSA lines. I normally don’t pack my hygiene bag in my carry on bags because of the liquids and the tweezers, but this time I would. So it meant I had to regroup the contents of my hygiene bag and my purse pouch and get all the liquid things in one place. But this means, that they are not in their logical locations for when I want to use them while traveling. I will spare you the examples that make me frustrated. But this is one of the little things that makes normally organized, functioning adults, become so disoriented when we step into an airport: we can’t find our necessities.
Because of my shoulder problem, I can’t pack big bags to take on the plane with me. I can only carry stuff with one arm, and I have to treat it with care, so that I don’t end up having rotator cuff surgery on it some day. (Refrain: “People, be good to your shoulders!”) I have found a line of luggage that is colorful and lightweight, called, “iT luggage”– I have the Second Generation 16-in. Spinner Upright– my suggestion to them is they need to add the 360 degree wheels. (But keep them big like your present wheels.)
Unless I fill it with bricks or hardback books, I am able to lift it over my head when it is filled. This is a key factor in carry on bags. And, because of the wheels, it serves as my personal luggage cart, for my other bag, while I am in the airport. That’s where I pack my travel papers, my snacks, my water bottle (* a-hem, more on this later.), and, maybe a camera. (a-hem, more on the camera in another post.) Along with my clothes for 4 days, between these two bags is where I put magazines/paperbacks, gloves, hat, scarves, and a sweater. I find it fascinating to watch the size of bags that other members of The Flying Republic attempt to drag onto the airplanes. For those of you who don’t travel too often, it may help you to remember that if you can’t lift your bag and its contents over your head, you really need to consider down-sizing. It means, that someone else will have to lift it for you. They could get injured. If the bag is too heavy, once it gets over your shoulders (or anyone elses) it becomes harder to control. And it could throw you off balance. Be careful. The other thing to remember is that on larger planes, the aisles start out wide and roomy in first class. And then, the aisle tends to get narrower. When that shift happens at about rows 5-6-or 7, you will have to shift how you are shlepping your stuff down the aisle. Be careful. Practice this manoover at home or in your office.
Now, at the other end of the packing philosophy is my Husband. (He calls the over-sized and over-packed carry on bags Clydesdales, and the smaller ones Shetland ponies.) His idea is that we should box up every thing we need for a trip, and ship it to where we will be staying. You will be surprised to discover that doing this costs about as much as checking a bag ($25) — depends on the distance and weight that you are shipping. I’ve resisted this idea up until now, because “it’s one more thing I’ve got to do.” But I am beginning to see the wisdom in my Husband’s plan. We live near several efficient pack-and-ship stores and I am capable of planning ahead.
Here is my suggestion to every single airline in America: Cooperate with the airports to Invite pack-and-ship companies to set up kiosks in all airport terminals. Even if it takes them a day or two to get our boxes to our locations, their costs are similar and, their performance records are better. This way, the airplanes that are hauling people will have more room for people. The Flying Republic will quit complaining about how frequently the airlines lose our luggage.
This is one in a series of stories and essays about being a member of The Flying Republic based upon events I experienced or observed in the days leading up to my trip, during my trip, and the time shortly afterwards.
(c) 2015 -JBD- The Creative Express, All Rights Reserved.