Black Rolling Bags

August 26, 2001 … 9:06 PM … San Jose, CA

An empty baggage carousel works its way in a counter-clockwise motion. On any other flight, on any other day, my two black rolling bags would be on that carousel. Today they are not.

I feel this is due to two factors. One, my travel agent temporarily lost her mind. Two, my flight karma is too high and is seeking a proper cosmic balance.

My travel day began at 4:05 PM in Atlanta. Suzanne took me to the airport and saw me onto my Delta flight. I have a flight to Las Vegas, then an hour layover before leaving for San Jose. I’m spending the week in the Bay Area for Intel Developer Fourm … four days of free coffee, booth duty and free polo shirts.

This is where travel factor one kicks in … the temporary insanity of my travel agent. For some unknown reason, my flight from Las Vegas to San Jose is on a different airline than the flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas. Perhaps this was done for scheduling reasons. Perhaps this kept my plane fare down. The Delta agent noted the final destination and American Airlines flight number properly, so I didn’t think twice about it.

Factor number two, my travel karma, revealed itself thirty minutes into the flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas. A stewardess and a tall man in a Hawaiian shirt interrupted my enjoyment of Poe’s “Haunted” album.

“Excuse me, sir. This man wants to switch seats with you so he can sit next to his friend in 23C. He is willing to trade his seats in First Class with you. Is that okay?”

Eight nanoseconds later, I am on my feet. I collect my bags, thank the man kindly, and walk from seat 23C to seat 5A. The rest of my flight consisted of white wine, grilled mahi mahi, and ice cream with caramel. Things appeared to be looking up.

But fate has dealt me a poor hand. Moving through Las Vegas, I must have experienced transference of luck. Some poor slob who lost his last $23 to a house dealer who stands at 17 must now have my streak of good fortune. I hope he is over at The Luxor, using his newfound luck to parlay the dollar he found under a couch into enough money to purchase Blue Man Group tickets and a two-room suite.

My luck had run dry. My karmic center was swaying back to the left, passing zero on the way. The six-armed elephant of travel, while on a layover in Chicago, was adjusting my karma.

My black rolling bags were not on American Airlines Flight 1612 from Las Vegas to San Jose. American Airlines, who does not feel the need to track the baggage that rides on their airplanes, cannot tell me where my bags are. The attendant is “pretty sure” my bags will arrive on the next flight from Las Vegas. Then again, they have no way of knowing.

It’s not like I needed a week’s worth of clean clothes, the product demo computer, or those CDs full of software. It’s only shampoo, underwear and some clean socks. I’m sure my customers won’t mind seeing pantomime my product, wearing day two old jeans and a blue “OVERCLOCKED” t-shirt.

I have about 30 minutes before my next opportunity to (possibly) collect my personal belongings. That gives me enough time to call Miss Cleo and diving the future of my company’s travel agent. I see that six-armed elephant making severe adjustments to her center.

I’ll update you later on this adventure …

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