Dating at the Baggage Claim

Men are like waffles.

Or, wait…they’re from Mars and I’m from Venus, right?

Or is it that finding one is like picking out shoes?

travel 1

Well, today – I contend that picking the right man or woman is a lot like waiting on the perfect (or not so perfect) piece of luggage.

We’ve all been there – standing impatiently at the baggage claim carousel, hoping against hope that the next piece of luggage to plop out onto the belt will be ours.  OURS!
After all – WE are in a hurry.

Isn’t dating just like this?  I’ve had a lot of conversations lately with singles at varying stages of hopefullness/hopelessness and it occurs to me that picking out a man (or woman) is a precisely like waiting at the carousel.

You stand around in a crowd of people, some of whom have had the same luggage for years… they grab it up, smile endearingly, and walk away content with their wife of 40 years… er… Samsonite.

Others are SO eager to just GET a bag, that any will do.  They’ll grab up the first flashly expandable/collapsible rolling case with a built-in mp3 player in sporty orange and go… not realizing that it’s empty inside… or worse…full of its own nasty baggage.  (And hey – is there anything worse than baggage inside of baggage?)

travel 2

Then, you’ve got the folks who SAY they’re ‘picky’ or ‘doing things different this time,’ but darn if they don’t KEEP picking up the same suitcase every bleedin’ time it comes around.  Hey!  You know why it keeps coming around and no one else is scooping it up?  Because it’s bad luggage!
If you keep grabbing the same one, realizing it doesn’t suit you, putting it back and then grabbing it up again when it comes around the next time, …isn’t that the definition of insanity?
That person never leaves the airport… and then complains that life at the airport stinks.

But I, for one, am waiting for the “perfect bag.”  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not looking for a new or fancy one.  In fact, a suitcase that’s got a few scratches and dings from traveling the world actually sounds nice.  It’s weathered a few storms, but is better for it.  It’s not without flaws, but it’s perfect FOR ME.

Problem is… I have to wait.

And wait.

And…. wait.

travel 4

I watch the conveyer belt mockingly glide along with the same ski case, car seat, beat-up cardboard box and 14 black mid-sized suitcases that are all about the same… and they go round and round and round.  Every once in a while, something that LOOKS like my bag will appear in the rotation and I’ll pull it off, look at the tag, try it on for size, and then… quite quickly determine that it’s not right… and return it to the carousel for someone else to enjoy.  There’s no point in holding onto a piece of luggage any longer than you need to once you realize it’s not the one you want.

Now, I’ve come under quite a bit of criticism this last year for being “too picky.”  And, you know what?  Criticism is hard.  Really hard.  It makes you start to question yourself…
Maybe there’s NOT a bag for me?
Maybe I SHOULD just take one of those boring mid-sized cases and just deal with it not being a great fit.
Maybe I should bristle and defend myself to my naysaying and unsolicitedly vocal audience – “Hey!  A girl can wait, dangit!!”

But, in the end, honestly – I’m happy to wait.  I’ve got a great spot with a nice line of vision.  The airport is climate-controlled and full of snacks.  I get to meet a ton of fun people who pass through picking out their own luggage, and I wait.  I can rejoice with others who find their suitcase, and I can comfort those who thought they did, but realized it wasn’t theirs and had to return it.

In the end… the point is this – there is hope.  And I wait.

Think about it… when you wait for your piece of luggage to come through at the airport, and you start to realize it’s not happening – you get that sick, annoyed feeling in your gut because you know the airline lost it or sent it on the wrong flight and now some gate-checker in Boise is sifting through your unmentionables and back-issues of Bon Appetit.  BUT – you know it’s SOMEwhere.  And, even though you may have to drag your exhausted hiney to that poorly lit baggage office and have them hand you the consolation “travel kit” – [you know the one…  It offers you the luxury and extravagance of a toothbrush, shower cap, off-brand deoderant and a $5 gift card to Starbucks (’cause THAT’s all a girl needs to feel pretty)]… ultimately, you know they’re going to find your suitcase.  It may be delayed.  Heck, if it’s an international snafoo, it may mean a LONG wait.  But, it’s coming.  Your bag is coming.

travel 3

So, while there are moments of discouragement and questioning as I wait for my piece of luggage (oh…and by the way … mine is amazing.  You should SEE all the compartments and depth that is belied by its handsome exterior… Mmm…) – and those moments are no fun – my hope doesn’t diminish.  Because the bag is out there.
Sure – it may be in a frenetic baggage claim in Charles de Gaulle airport (hey…a girl can dream, right?  I like to think my bag has enjoyed some french artisinal cheeses along its path to me), and it may be (for now), in the hands of a misguided traveler who THINKS it’s hers, but hasn’t realized it’s not the right one yet.  It may have been damaged in flight and is being repaired before entering back into circulation.  But it’s out there.  And one day, it’ll pop out of that mysterious tunnel and into my life.

And I will be SO glad I waited.


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4 Responses to Dating at the Baggage Claim

  1. Sarah says:

    Loving the Mozambique reference! The other little travel word plays are great too 🙂

  2. Bonnie says:

    I love this one, Sarah. So artful. And so positive at the same time.

  3. KK says:

    Holy cow this is the best analogy to dating yet! It’s perfect and hopefully my friends who can’t understand my pickiness as well will get where I’m coming from finally.

    Psstt…. side note, “snafoo” should actually be “snafu” (Situation Normal, All F-d Up).

    • smstone says:

      I know snafoo SHOULD be snafu… I just think this way takes it one step away from crass language and into ‘cutesy’ land. Urban Dictionary uses it as a secondary spelling of the original. And, so – if they can do it, so can I! 🙂 I’ve done it that way on purpose for a while now.

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. I say – stay (reasonably) picky!

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