I won’t say it was charming to arrive at Madrid Airport Saturday night but my luggage not. Always a bad feeling when it doesn’t appear and then Sofia and I waited for the next plane from Casablanca to no avail. But after going straight to El Corte Ingles where I bought two pairs of shorts, two shirts, some underwear, a shaving brush and a sun hat, I figured the luggage would come the next day and I’ve have a cute story about my handsome shirt, courtesy of Iberia Airlines. But by Sunday afternoon when we left to go to El Escorial outside of Madrid, site of our next Orff Course, no sign of the luggage. Two of my bags, two of Sofia’s. I wrote on Facebook that our bags decided to vacation a bit longer in Casablanca and everyone thought that was cute. But now the cuteness is wearing thin.
Sofia called some four times on Monday and the stories ranged from “We have one of the them in Madrid” to “we have three of them” to “we don’t have any” to “we have four of them” (I kid you not)_all of which translated to “we have no freakin’ idea where the hell they are.” And on Tuesday, the circus of lies and “we’ll ask again in the airports” started all over again, like Groundhog’s Day meets Casablanca and each worker is instructed to “Say it again, Sam.” Sofia had to fly off to Salzburg this afternoon without that luggage and I have until Friday to see whether mine will really appear.
Today I talked to a woman who spoke English and though my Spanish is surprisingly better than I thought it would be, it’s not the kind of conversation in which I want to miss a single word. Though the woman was nice, the circle started all over again with 30 minutes going through the story trying to figure things out and at the end, no assurance whatsoever from her that they know or can find out where it is beyond, “We will send an inquiry.” It’s maddening.
Truth be told, it’s bumming me out. Not knowing if it’s gone or will appear, not knowing whether to buy a whole new suitcase and a whole new set of clothes and then what do I do if the suitcases appear? And some grouchiness about all the Ghana gifts I worked so hard to collect, including the shirts the tailor made just for me, some clothes I cared about keeping and a few sentimental things that are truly irreplaceable. Like the “man-purse bag” that I first used traveling around the world in 1978-79 that still circumnavigates the globe with me.
The number one lesson of the approach to elderhood? Let go. Life will keep giving us the list of things to say goodbye to and we might as well learn how to do it graciously. I read on Facebook that a friend’s husband’s cancer had re-appeared and here I am grouchy about a couple of damn suitcases and some clothes. It’s important to put things into perspective.
But even though it’s small in the big picture, let’s be honest. It’s annoying as hell and yes, I expect the damn airlines to do their job and if not, they better be prepared to pay me handsomely not only for what I’m missing, but all the work of figuring out what is gone and how I can replace it. Meanwhile, I had three marvelous classes again, 90 minutes each of driving music, great energy, smiles and laughter and why should I let this supersede that? But I’m confessing here—it’s bumming me out. Have I mentioned that?
Well, it’s cathartic to write this and perhaps you’re secretly enjoying that you’re comfortable in your armchair and this on-the-surface dolce-vita life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. At this point, I’d agree. Move over on the couch and let’s watch TV.