People mock my suitcase and its somewhat garish bright colour. More the fool them. It’s the best suitcase I’ve ever had and if ever anything should happen to it I will be inconsolable. It’s fantastic. Hard back, been abused by the baggage handlers and it doesn’t even flinch. And it’s so freaking bright you can see it even in the darkest and most confusing of settings, such as baggage claim in Heathrow at 5.30am.
Oh, The Mom laughed when I spied it and decided it had to be mine. Kept banging on about how it wouldn’t match with anything, how it was such a garish colour and all. Which are, to me, two of the most ridiculous things to consider when buying a suitcase. Who cares what it matches? As long as it’s in the taxi quickly. Like a good suitcase.
The Mom I think has some funny ideas about the glamour of travel. Now, she has a very different social circle than I do, her friends are all card-carrying adults, with cars and homes and fancy holidays. Maybe people who live like this also travel in different parts of the airport to me, but as far as I can tell airports are about as classy as the mall. Maybe the first class lounge in Dubai is like this crazy gold-covered bastion of civilisation, but I can’t afford to go in there so it matters not. And since I can’t then it doesn’t matter if my suitcase can either. So it’s totally fine that it’s not the bog standard American Tourister black suitcase that literally everyone else on the planet has.
I pity people like that when I’m waiting on my bag. They’ve tied a little ribbon to their case in the hopes of distinguishing it. But I think of it like this: your case has all your really good shit in it. Consider it the way you would a small child. If you had to find your child in an airport hall, how would you dress it? Me, it’d dress it in a bright green dinosaur suit with flashing lights. You’d never miss it. Same thing with the case. Besides which, it knows it’s been loved then. It knows you’re looking for it and that you want very much to bring it back home. Surely the case senses this and makes itself easier to find.
Though, I am slightly worried how The Mom’s Man is going to react to her current suitcase – the one she appears to have graffittied at home. I can picture her the moments before she undertook this ill-fated plan. She’d have been standing in the mud room, holding the spray paint, looking at the case.
The garage door would be opened tentatively for ventilation but not too much as that’s also cold. She may have dropped a few pieces of old newspaper on the floor.
Everything about her behaviour would scream: not quite ready to commit to this yet as there is a voice in the back of my head screaming: bad idea.
She will eventually have been able to ignore this voice. It’s almost heartbreaking imaging this process because on the face of it, as these things so often are, it’s actually an excellent plan. It’s hard to say exactly where things go wrong, or if indeed there is a specific point at which they all take a turn, something we could be on the look out for in future. I believe there may be such a moment: when she’s walking you through her plan, The Mom frequently leaves out a step here or a step there. She’ll gloss over these with some flapping of hands, or a few whatevers or you knows or blah blah blahs, all indicating to you, the listener and child who will have to deal with the aftermath, that there are steps in between, she acknowledges them, but they are dull and thus not worth mentioning.
Thing is, this is what she does when she executes the plan too. Did she at any point stop to consider the placement of the bird stencils she was about to spray paint? No she did not. Does she now consider this a flaw in her approach? She does not.
This is the impressive thing about her. She will cheerfully admit she’s completely bungled the project. She will also happily continue to use the suitcase. Because it is now one of her favourite things: it is no longer a suitcase it is a hilarious tale.
I will bet you any money that at some point in her latest voyage she will tell at the very minimum one stranger the story of why her case looks like a kid’s art project. At least one.
So look out Oz, you’re been warned. Ask her at your peril.