Tuesday, 30 March 2010


That’s why this airport systematically ranks the top spot in international surveys on the best airports in the world. By the time you stroll from the gate and pass immigration, the first pieces of luggage parade on the belt already. I spot my bag, take it carelessly off the belt, and put it on the trolley. As usual, too heavy for the few days only that I have been away. I seem to want the same variety of choice in my hotel room as when opening my wardrobe at home. With a stubbornness that appears impossible to extinguish, I keep packing more outfits than I possibly can wear, even if I’d change clothes twice a day. It’s Friday evening, and there’s a busy relaxedness in the arrival terminal, as many business travellers come back to start the weekend after their overseas trips. I am lucky; I don’t have to wait all too long before I can step into a cab. I gaze at the slow peak-hour traffic through the window, as if I were in a train looking at an ever-changing landscape. There’s dreamy music on my MP3 player; a muse plays in my dreams.

There seems to be one long traffic jam all over the island. Finally, I almost reach home. Then suddenly my phone rings. “Sir, it appears you have taken the wrong bag off the belt just now. There’s a gentleman here with a bag that apparently looks very similar, and it appears to be yours.” I feel like sinking through the floor. The sight would be ugly though, as I would immediately be overridden by the car behind us and smashed into bloody pulp on this Singapore expressway. They could rename it into “RIP” then, instead of “PIE”. The news of my stupid mistake is a cold shower in stead of the warm one I was looking forward to. I promise to the lady who’s calling me that I will U-turn straight away and make my way back to airport. What else can I do? I need my own bag, and there’s somebody waiting for the one that is now in the trunk of this taxi. I hang up. Well, “hanging up” is no longer the appropriate term with the modern phones nowadays. Try it!

I feel so stupid when I tell the taxi driver what has happened and ask him to drive back to the airport. He can’t help but laughing, and of course he’s right to do so. I change my mind and let him drive me home first, more based on economic considerations than out of sweet revenge for him laughing at me and wanting to prevent him from earning even more money from this ride. I step into my own car and head back into the evening jams. Two hours after arriving at the airport back from my trip, I am there again.

As if I were a high profile criminal, I have to be escorted by two policemen to go back into the transit area, where the “Lost-and-Found” counter is located. And of course, a shift change just happens to be scheduled at my unscheduled time to go back in to return the wrong bag. After half an hour of waiting, two junior officers finally show up. They walk even more relaxed than they would if they would be wearing nothing but their beachwear and sunglasses, in stead of a blue police uniform. How to be stressed if your first duty of the day is to walk a distracted, silly boy like me through a glass panel over a distance of 30 metres…It’s a happy coincidence that the glass panel slides open before walking through, without them even having to whisper “open sesame”.

I step into the “Lost-and-Found”, and see my travel bag immediately, patiently waiting for me. If luggage would have thoughts, then my bag would probably have been shocked to find out that he actually had a twin brother, and hurt at the same time, realizing that I had mistaken this other fellow for him. But he would be grateful too, I guess, my faithful travel companion, knowing that I have shown him around to many more destinations than a plastic supermarket bag or a leather postman’s bag ever will.

“The other passenger did not wait any longer,” I am told. “We will bring his bag to his home. The man was OK with it, but his wife was very, very angry.” “Oh, isn’t it always like that?”, I tease them. To my surprise, all three females in the room agree. Self-knowledge is the basis of all wisdom. I smile as I squat down to look at my bag. Yes, this is mine. But the similarity with the other bag is striking, so I somehow forgive myself already. Not only is the bag identical, but also all other accessories are affixed in exactly the same manner: the frequent flyer tag, the padlock, the “priority” ribbon. What a disappointment: I always thought I had my own style. In any case, I may not be unique after all, but I am definitely stupid and distracted, and I haven proven it once again. ..


Three days later: another plane, again insane. After take-off, I turn on my laptop, I plug in the mouse, and the power cable into the socket. I put my headset on, ready to enjoy some music while working. Nowadays you can work more relaxed in the plane than in the office, not interrupted by colleagues at your desk or incoming calls. You can even take your shoes off, have a sip of champagne and be served at your every whim by most helpful crew.

I notice that my laptop is operating on battery power, in stead of the power that is supposed to be tapped from the plane seat. Strange. This plane looks like new; I can hardly imagine that the socket is faulty. But nothing is impossible. The seat next to mine is not occupied, so I try the built-in socket in that seat. Still the same: my computer keeps discharging battery power. I try a few more times in both seats: in, out, in, out… (shake it all around). I know that my battery won’t last for the full 7 hours of this flight. So I turn to the stewardess and ask her to check if the electrical sockets may be faulty perhaps. Just as she walks away to go and check the central monitoring panel, I discover the reason of my power problems: I forgot to insert the other end of the cable into my laptop!
I apologize with a smile. “What else can I do?”. Déjà-vu...


Sheron said...

This is so damn funny! About us the exchange of the luggage and the labtop. You put a smile on the reader :))

Anonymous said...

Please forgive me... hahahahaha.. this is really very funny.. can't help myself to laugh.. sorry.. hahahahha.. :p