Important Notice

Special captions are available for the humor-impaired.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Maybe Just One More Skillet?

The first leg of my trip to Spain begins with a flight from Seattle to Chicago where I’ll be spending some time with my brother’s family. I had to move out of my apartment in Seattle which meant divesting myself of most of my material possessions; I would be limited by the airline baggage constraints: two checked bags, a carry-on, and another smaller personal bag. I’m planning on this being a rather lengthy trip so I’d have to push the boundaries of these restrictions.

I spent the last couple months that I lived in Seattle sorting through what I owned and making decisions on what to keep, what to sell, what to give away, what to throw away, and what to flush. As the date of my departure neared, when push came to shove, I pushed and shoved most of what I used to own into the dumpster of my apartment building.

A day before I was scheduled to leave I was in a panic to clear out my apartment and get everything I now owned to fit into the bags I would carry on to the plane. I was frantically packing, cleaning, and taking stuff out of my apartment and throwing it into the dumpster. The analogy of sand pouring out of the top bulb of an hour glass suited my lack of time and my possessions flowing out of my apartment.

At one point in this chaos I lost track of where I had put my passport. I did a cursory search of places where it should have been and came up empty-handed. I had already packed the two huge bags that I was going to check at the airport. I didn’t think that my passport was in either of them but I tore them apart and searched them anyway. Nothing. Now I was beginning to worry. If there was one thing that I would definitely need in a move to Spain it would be my passport.

I looked through everything as I repacked the bags and when I had finished I was in a full blown panic. The only thing that I could think of is that I had thrown it out along with one of the many loads I had delivered to the dumpster. I had no choice but to climb inside and root through everything. What added insult to injury were the Hispanic kitchen workers from the restaurant below my apartment who witnessed my dumpster diving while they took a cigarette break in the alley. The good news was that they ended up taking a lot of the stuff I had thrown out as I sifted through it in another futile search for my goddamn passport. I found my passport inside of my computer bag, but at least the hour I wasted looking for it meant that a lot of what I had tossed out went on to another life with the kitchen workers. Recycle, reuse, and reduce as they say in the environmental pamphlets.

I have always been fascinated with the quantity and quality of stuff that we Americans simply boot to the curb. I have something bordering on a fetish for thrift stores. I visit thrift stores like some people cruise seedy bars and night clubs. They are looking for Mr. Goodbar while I am looking for…well, I can’t really say but I always know it when I see it. I find books, clothes, sports gear, furniture, rugs, pots, and pans. It was this last item that pushed me over the airline baggage guidelines.

I plan on doing a lot of cooking in Spain so I wanted to take some of my favorite pieces of cookware along for the ride. Unfortunately, one of my favorite items is a really heavy, cast iron skillet with a heavy lid. Hauling this thing to another continent probably doesn’t make a lot of sense but I’ve really grown fond of it over the years. I knew that my two bags to be checked were heavy but I didn’t have a scale and I didn’t bother to find out the weight limit.

When I got to the airport my friend suggested that I use the curb-side check in and perhaps they would not be such sticklers on the whole weight issue. As soon as I saw how they strained to lift my bags I knew that I was busted. Both bags were well over the 50 pound limit but they told me that I could transfer contents from one bag into the other so I would only have to pay the fine on one bag. I left one bag on the scale and started taking stuff out of it to bring it down to 50 pounds. The two Punjabi bag handlers watched as I took the huge, cast iron skillet out of the bag and packed it into the other. I’m sure that they have witnessed a lot of weird baggage in their day but they probably haven’t seen anyone dumb enough to travel with a cast iron skillet.

I was within about five pounds of the bag being legal and was searching for anything inside that might put me under when one of the handlers said in his sing-song accent, “Maybe just one more skillet?”

Maybe it had to do with the fact that I was completely stressed out from the move but I thought this was the funniest thing I had heard all week—and it was only Thursday..

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you can't say something nice, say it here.