We’re back tonight, reunited with the Pearls, Misty and Mini. Time to prep for the Rendezvous. A passel of old Looper friends are coming in over the next couple of days so we’ll have some catching up to do. Also the rumor on the dock is that raccoons have been prowling around the boats at night. Not good. Our boys are lovers, not fighters.
Speaking of the boys, they spent some quality time in Chattanooga with their cousins. Jake and Lucy are from the fluffy side of the family, but they all share the I-refuse-to-pose-for-pictures gene.
We won’t bore anyone with stories or more photos from Doug’s favorite childhood restaurants or the glorious sights of Chattanooga, but we hit them up and even worked in visits with some really-old-non-Looper friends over the past several days. Then off for the return to Joe Wheeler.
One stop along the way deserves not just a mention, but some degree of autopsy as well. That would be the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama.
First of all, the name outrageously is fraudulent. The merchandise isn’t “unclaimed” at all. The deal is that when American Airlines, for example, loses a bag, it might end up here.
Here’s how it works. You pack your suitcase for a nice vacation in, say, Miami. Maybe watch a light comedy on the flight. They finally identify the baggage carousel and you push through the crowd, eyes focused like a hawk’s because someplace there’s a cocktail waiting. That fat dude in the Bama hat who snored so loud it pierced your noise-cancelling headphones gets his duffel. Probably something in camouflage. The elderly lady who knitted in the center seat gets her red flowery suitcase. Even the hacking and snorting kids who screamed for more skittles take off with their matching backpacks. Yours never shows up. So you go to the counter AND MAKE A CLAIM. “We’ll send it to you when it shows up,” says the mean woman behind the counter. “Leave us your address.” When it never shows up, you get a check for some pittance and figure you’re just out of luck.
But what happens when that bag shows up in the Detroit airport weeks later? You guessed it. The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. That’s where your underwear—hopefully not something in camouflage—goes on a rack. So do your reading glasses, iPad, shorts, shirts, razor, and everything else. And they have the temerity to call it “unclaimed.”
Second, the place smells of sadness and despair. They try to cover it up with bright signs and happy slogans, but the sadness and despair can’t be concealed. As Dana noted, this isn’t stuff that anybody wanted to lose. Nobody thinks to themselves, “We’ll be in Hawaii for a week so I’ll take along all the things I plan to donate to Goodwill when I get back.” Nope, this place has the good stuff. That’s why it’s so horrible. Hey here’s an idea. When the bag resurfaces, how about you just call up the poor slob who “lost” it and offer to return it? Seems pretty reasonable to us.
Anyway, we don’t know any songs about how airlines sell—for money—the personal stuff that they negligently lose and then falsely label “unclaimed,” but Canadian folk singer Dave Carroll did do a classic video after United Airlines broke his guitar. It’s sort of on topic and sort of off topic, but either way it’s a good one.
Screw all of you Ms. Irlwegs and guitar-breaking bag-stealing airlines everywhere.
Ok, that’s out of our system. The good times at Joe Wheeler start soon. Wooooo!