So it has been one of those weeks where my brain refuses to work. Actually, the best way to describe my week is to tell you that my Christmas tree decided to attack the living room table at midnight last night and shatter a few bulbs. It now leans against my wall, half naked, looking at me sadly. When the hubster gets home we will fix the dang thing, but I do not know if I can get over the betrayal. I spent so much time dressing this tree and making her so shiny and beautiful. And she decides to just topple over while we are sleeping? Not cool Miss tree… not cool.
So ya… the rest of my week doesn’t hold any stories much better than that one. So today in honor of hashtag culture… I am doing a #throwbackthursday. The following story has nothing to do with marriage or motherhood. It comes from my time spent in Europe as a husband-less child-less college student and hopeful human rights activist. I think for those of you who do not know me this story can really shed some light on who I am. And for those of yopu who have followed me for a long time… I am sorry for the repeat blog post. Hopefully it is still enjoyable the second time around 🙂
**Backstory: When this was written I was in London trying to get to Italy…. curse you Mediana Airlines.
So this is where my day in London stars to go downhill. I arrive to Gatwick airport nice and early before my flight. I pick up a pastie to eat. This is some kind of curry chicken calzone that was very satisfying. Finally… It is time to get my boarding pass and check in. I get up to the front of Mediana desk and the lady informs me that I am only allowed 2 bags. That is it. She flatly tells me that my backpack, even though it is not large, is considered a carry on… not a personal item. That makes my carry on bag an extra piece of luggage. This woman then informs me that on top of the fact that I have three bags, my main bag is overweight plus my extra bag, and she will be charging me 12 pounds (roughly 24 dollars) for every kg I am over the limit. I was 15 kg over. Now, I am not going to pay an extra $360 for my luggage.
I start to beg.
She tells me to throw stuff away or just leave things in London. I want to kill her at this point. She is not only not trying to help my plight, she is completely unsympathetic and an idiot. I obviously am not from London so where would my stuff go? I had explained to her I am going to be in Europe for two months traveling so these are necessary items. I am not going to throw away clothes. She promptly hands me my passport back and smugly tells me to come back when I figure it out.
That is when I realized that there was only way to end this war.
I needed to make my luggage lighter, and there is no rule against how much clothing I can wear.
So I make my way to the airport bathroom and somehow manage to squeeze my luggage and myself into the stall. At first I just stare at the suitcase and start to think thoroughly about what this means. “You will never see these people again” I kept reminding myself. Here is the running total of what I put on:
Pants: 3 (my pants could not button at all and my sweatpants drawstrings hung out from my nice business suit pants)
Socks: 5 under a pair of running shoes. It completed my fat person bloated look.
Skirt: 1 This was useful in hiding the fact my pants were not zipped.
Dress: 2 I put on my business dress that goes up to my neck and then my strapless lacy one.
Sports bra: 1
Button up nice shirts: 3.. ( I put the largest one on the outside of all the shirts.
Belt: 1 stretchy that I put around my waist.
Suit Jacket: 1 ( most of my shirts were tank tops besides the 3 buttonups.. so I was able to get my arms through but the jacket wouldn’t close. )
I then took my pea coat and held it and put some other sweaters inside it. I threw away 3 notebooks, a really large book, all my gum, my first aid kit, and all my hangers. By the time I was done I was sweating profusely. This made me feel even fatter then I already felt. I was so hot that I had to put my hair up… plus it was getting in the way. So I threw it up into a bun on the top of my head. I realize this looks ridiculous, but I had to.
SO there I was with all my clothing. I just looked in the mirror and laughed. I felt like I was wearing a chastity belt and my feet were starting to lose circulation. Every time I bent or moved it was strenuous. But I did it. I then proceeded to walk out into the airport over to the woman’s desk. I cannot really explain the looks people gave me, but there were a lot of snickers. At random times I felt like bursting into tears because I was so tired, so uncomfortable and hot, I looked huge, my feet were numb, my chastity belt was cutting off circulation at my hips, and people were staring at me. It was like my worst nightmare except that I kept giggling because it really was funny… sort of.
The airline lady looked shocked. She was trying not to laugh, and I was trying not to hit her. SHe needed to recognize that I had the padding advantage, and I could totally Hulk Smash her like I was wearing one of those fat sumo suits.
I was still over the weight limit, but this time only by 5 kg. After running around trying to find the place to pay for excess baggage, I finally get my boarding pass from the woman.
Now it is time to pass security. As I walk up to the place where you put your carry on in to get checked, the security lady asked me to take off my jacket. Are you kidding me? So I took my jacket off and my scarves. I was not going to go beyond that. I am a blonde haired, blue eyed American who has so little shame that she has her made herself into a human clothing rack. I hardly think I qualify as a terrorist. Her comment was “Wow you are wearing a lot of the clothing.. that will make it hard if we need to pad you down.”
No sh*t sherlock.
Thankfully, the woman that was on the other side of the scanner just let me through. I now focused all my attention on getting to my gate and hiding until I got onto the plane. Turns out I had to walk through two very crowded waiting/shopping areas AND my gate was at the end of the airport. WONDERFUL.
I did not look anyone in the eye.
I got to my gate and fell asleep. There was no one by my gate this entire time. They were all in the waiting areas by the shops, and for this, I was grateful. My flight ended up getting delayed twice so finally I went to the bathroom and took some folders out of my bag and crammed some clothes in. Long story short. My flight got canceled. I did all that. FOR NOTHING. I got all my luggage back and put all the clothing in it. There were 80 of us waiting at that airport for four hours until they told us they canceled. The airline offered us no promise for booking the next day. Oh no… we would have to get there early and hope we could get a flight.
People were furious.
And I was glad that everyone now hated this woman. I found great joy as she was bombarded with angry yells in all sorts of languages for the next two hours as she tried to find us hotels and placate the travelers.
I called home and got a flight to Rome on a different airline. There were no flights left to Florence until late the next day and even that was not promised. I will get to Rome and take the train to Florence. Plus, I was not going through that whole ordeal ever again. I talked to a older woman and her husband from New York that were stuck in London with me. I started to explain to the lady my day, but she already knew. “Oh yes, I saw you.” Great. Hi, I am Shelbi . Welcome to my life.