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The first and last problem here is that The Mom insists on watching this sort of drivel on TV. Any TV show that purports itself to be ‘aspirational’ is not. It is designed to make you feel bad about some aspect of your life you hadn’t previously considered feeling bad about, or had forgot to feel bad about because, you know, you were doing life. The Mom has a terrible weakness for these shows and often when I’m home I wander upstairs of an evening to find her engrossed in some hideous programme about brides-to-be, or home decor. These shows do not solve problems, they create them.

They harken back to a strange time that never happened – it’s the nostalgia for this 1950s Mad Men era of life that I have it on good authority wasn’t quite that stylish. I have seen pictures. People looked pretty normal, though they didn’t wear as many track suits as we do now, otherwise they seemed pretty average, not counting people like Presidents and Movie Stars.

When I first moved to England about ten years ago now, The Mom very kindly acquired some luggage on my behalf because I had only some kind of duffle/hockey bag and she deemed this insufficient to ferry my most necessary worldly possessions across the pond. The case she got for me was probably nearly as big as I am (which isn’t saying too much but still, it didn’t make getting it from Pearson to Heathrow, through Paddington and down to Cornwall very easy – lots of steps in England you see). But it did what it needed to and since the Mom helped me pack it (and by helped I mean did it while I threw Important Things into the to-be-included pile) I couldn’t complain.

It was only after I was left to my own devices with the case that I learned how horrible the damned thing was. Sure it had wheels, but those don’t help when you need to schlep it up and down several flights of stairs during rush hour traffic.

As I am someone who now spends a reasonable (or unreasonable, depending on your point of view) amount of time in an airport I have come to be familiar with the different kinds of case on offer. I’m quite taken with the ones that look like old school briefcases though that’s just a style point – they look really retro though so cumbersome as to be totally useless for my purposes.

Sometime during my PhD I had to get a new case whilst I was at home for the summer. The Bay was probably having a sale (as I purchase big ticket items – i.e. anything over a tenner – exclusively on sale, if they aren’t marked down, I am no longer interested) and as we traipsed through, one particular case caught my eye. It was bright freaking yellow and had a hard, plastic shell. And it was really light which is good for me considering the majority of the things I take back and forth with me are a small library of books. Seriously, that’s pretty much it. I have clothes pretty much everywhere I stay and so don’t bother packing anything but reading material. I mean, I don’t really need anything else, do I? If pressed I can exist on the contents of a small backpack for weeks at a time: laptop, work permit, bank cards, underpants, Speedo, and wife beaters. Possibly sunglasses. That’ll see me through.

The Mom mocked me when I purchased said canary yellow case because it is fairly ridiculous, but I don’t ever get confused at the baggage carousel. Because nobody in their right mind has a bright yellow case. It goes with literally nothing. Which is fine because if you are someone who can be arsed coordinating your suitcase to your outfit then you need to reconsider most of your life choices.

Anyhow, I have been with The Mom through major airports and I know that she is a nightmare – because what she failed to mention is her love of a flappy, open shopping bag and her unwillingness to carry anything she has brought. My motto is if you can’t carry it yourself, it ain’t coming. I believe this is the motto we lived by as children, when transiting through many of the world’s major airports. Much as I dislike rules, that wasn’t half bad. Though The Mom still insists everything she’s packed is necessary. And it is, if you’re the Queen of Freaking England, which, sadly in some ways, she is not.

She is right about one thing though: nobody goes anywhere near her at an airport, which can certainly come in handy.

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