Tuesday, March 21, 2006

twelfth day

Or, The Lamentable Tragedie of the Return Trip to Madison of Dangerous Mind

I started freaking out when we got to the airport around 6:00 for my 6:50 flight because the security check line was roughly 200 people long (due to the mass-exodus brought about by the end of South by Southwest) and not moving. And these airlines, as I learned when I left, don't give a second thought to the people waiting in security... needless to say, I started wondering if I wouldn't have to e-mail someone my brief to turn in while I was marooned in Austin.

(Side note - people, you know you're going to have to empty your pockets and take out your laptops. Do it before you get to the trays and stop holding up my freakin' line already!)

Luckily, I made it to my gate a full five minutes before the doors closed, and I was nowhere near as sweaty and disgusting as the guy sitting in front of me who also had to sprint from security. And I make it from Chicago to Madison with no problems and arrive home with plenty of time to get back to school.

As I'm wheeling the larger of the two suitcases I checked into my apartment (yes, I checked two suitcases and had two carry-ons for Spring Break), I noticed that it had a nice new quarter-sized hole in it. Fortunately, the inner lining of the suitcase prevents my stuff from making the hole larger, but the hole is there nonetheless (and a nice place for bugs to hide when the suitcase is stashed away in my closet). So, I start to wonder just how hard the baggage handlers were throwing these suitcases around, because they were certainly chucking the gate-checked bags around when we got to Madison.

I open the smaller of my two suitcases to retrieve some books to take back to school, and my fingers touch what I honestly believed to be Ectoplasm. And then I realized: my brand new bottle of shampoo had opened up, and was all over my school books and DVDs. I see that a case to a computer game is cracked and wide open (fortunately, the discs inside were safe). I sat there and thought about it, and realized that my shampoo was wrapped tightly in a plastic bag and zipped inside the plastic pouch...which is now unzipped.

So the TSA went through my crap and didn't zip it back up. And the baggage handlers through my bag around so hard that it caused the top to blow off of my shampoo bottle. (I'd think it was pressure, but all of the other bottles that were just as full as that one were intact.) So thank you, airport people and TSA, for conspiring to douse my books and class notes in shampoo...and forcing me to go buy a new bottle of shampoo, since this one's now empty.

The only consolation is that this didn't happen in the bag with all of my clothes...because otherwise, someone would be getting a hefty drycleaning bill. (And that someone would be me, because they aren't liable for their haphazard suitcase tossing.) Oh, and I turned my paper in a full 45 minutes before the deadline.


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