I often feel that any travel related story is a Platinum (TM) First World Problem. “Oh no, our flight to Paris is delayed! Quelle catastrophe!”…
Traveling often, I am plagued by the first world problem of luggage envy. Standing in line with all the other suit and ties one can not help but compare one’s carry on luggage with those whom he finds himself surrounded by – its like the unintended observances at a gentlemen’s urinal: I doubt one would admit to partaking in it, but one just can not help but be impressed occasionally, and feel slightly inferior by comparison.
I have a simple black trundle case that suits me for work travel perfectly. It is sturdy, has a life time warranty, and rather well set out. I can live out of it quite comfortably for a week. But it is like comparing a utility to a BMW, at times. Perfectly functional, but – well – it just isn’t… pretty.
I found myself in New York (note the casual dropping of enviable travel locations – bonus points in any white whine) and in the beloved Strand bookstore. It was at that moment I lost all self control. I had been diligently avoiding purchasing books for the prior three weeks of travel but suddenly with new found energy and resolution, I decided to unleash the Amex and pick up a what felt like four cubic tonnes of reading material.
This posed a slight problem. How was I now going to get all of these beautiful books home? It turns out, although I had more that enough room in my checked luggage, cling filmed books look suspiciously like drug parcels during airport screenings, and the TSA kept opening my bags (A FWP in itself).
I had a light bulb moment and assumed that this was the perfect time to release the proverbial stone upon two birds: I could buy a pretty carry on case to put my books in and travel home.
So I purchased a gorgeous little roll on case. It was more like a duffle bag with wheels. It was stream lined and, most importantly, looked great. Getting back to the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I could fit in it, as well. It was looking like a great acquisition.
Until I arrived at Atlanta airport.
At gate A3 and needing to get to Z546 in forty minutes.
So I started running, as most people seemed to be. Running for the gate and my connection onto Los Angeles. Running for freedom!
And then it started.
Above a certain pace – shall we say, slightly faster than a brisk walk – my beautiful luggage develops what can only be described as a case of speed wobbles.
Picture a poor, flailing, scrawny man running through a major airport with a suitcase convulsing on two wheels behind him. It was no longer rolling, more so rapidly bouncing from one wheel making contact to the ground to the other. This was not a quiet process either.
Maximum velocity was soon reached. This is the point at which the wheels can no longer absorb the jolts and jiggles, and like a beached whale giving up on life, it merely falls upon its side.
Picture it, ladies and gentlemen. Me, sweating and swearing, dragging my beautiful case on its side whilst listening to the stitches crackle and pop, praying that it could hold the excessive weight of books I was smuggling aboard the plane. If only I had been practical.
Damn these first world problems. Damn them.