Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stalking the Wild Suitcase

I like my husband more than I hate traveling.

It’s a bold statement in this ‘men are dogs’ world of ours—I know. But it’s true. He’s a bunch of fun to be with, except when he isn’t.

And he isn’t fun to be with when he’s waiting at the bottom of the baggage return in the Sidney, Australia airport, because then he’s a hyena, waiting for the lions to gut a water buffalo. Retrieving luggage for him is primal. Waiting. Watching. Tensing. And . . . then the pounce, knocking other hyenas (i.e. passengers) out of his way without regard to their advanced age or bone density. He’s a maniac about “catching” the suitcase before it slips past him.

In the background a person might be able to hear the faint sounds of me yelling, “But, honey, it goes in a circle. The suitcase comes back. It really does.”

And then me apologizing, “I’m so sorry. He doesn’t mean to be a mad dog. It just comes on him in spurts.”

When it comes to nature, I’m an evolutionist, of sorts. I totally believe that creatures adapt and change. I’m just not convinced it takes twenty trillion years. It only took my husband a couple of trips to the Far East to grow a giant backpack hump across his shoulders. It’s filled with all manner of defensive weapons, useful in knocking down competitors at the baggage return. His backpack hump contains two computers, cordage cables, adaptor stuff, plugger things, power jumpers, downloader catchers, our garage door opener, and possibly attack spines. When he swings to the side, his backpack extends thirteen feet into the hyena crowd. The crowd parts or it goes down.

Then it’s me again in the background calling out, “Babe, careful there. You just knocked down that nice old lady with your enormous backpack hump. She has daggers for eyes.”

He says, “Hunh? What? Which?  Er . . . got to go. I’ve spotted our suitcase. It’s getting away.”

Adaptation is a wonderful process. His backpack hump doesn’t slow him down one bit as he leaps over small children and races next to the endless migration of the stampeding luggage. He’s a wonder of evolution and change, single minded in his instinctual need to chase, catch and claim. He is king of the carousel and no suitcase is safe when he is on the hunt.

As his mate, I find that watching him plow through a herd of passengers after a fourteen-hour flight across an endless ocean makes me long for my own evolutionary adaptations. I want a set of wings for early disembarking and chameleon skin that allows me to fade into carpet. With wings I’d be able to jump off the airplane any old time I wanted, and chameleon skin would allow me to fade into the airport carpet after my husband had maimed or injured someone. But I ain’t got twenty trillion years.

So I’ll just stay home and work on pretending that I adore sitting still for fourteen endless flying hours. I have a hard time sitting all the way through church. I must really love that man—hump and all.

Linda (Are we there yet?) Zern



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