It's official -- someone screwed up the economy of the entire world. Wait, no, that's not what I'm blogging about. Let's start over...
It's official -- we booked a flight to Belgrade, Serbia on June 22. I know this to be true because I got an email from our travel agent with a subject line that reads: Itinerary/ Invoice - Passengers: Redpath/ Robert (Party of 4) LAX-BEG ** Ticketed.
To the many friends and family members who have asked over the past few month, "are you still doing that crazy traveling thing?" The answer is, "have you ever tried to get a refund on airline tickets?!?"
So, between now and June 22 we're going to have to do several hundred things to continue preparing for a year abroad. One of the things in the front of my mind that scares the crap out of me is packing. We have some old, cheap-to-begin-with, falling apart suitcases and duffel bags that we're not even sure would make it through our first layover -- let alone a year of banging around in a variety of vehicle cargo holds. I always tend to imagine the worst, and since I've worked in Hollywood for twenty years I usually have nightmares in screenplay format. This time it goes something like this --
(looking out the plane window and laughing)
Look at that! Some poor idiot's underwear is blowing all over the tarmac.
(not caring all that much)
Oh, that would suck. Do you think they'll leave the whole can if I order a ginger ale?
Wow, it must be windy out there. Here come the rest of his clothes. Nice suit. Whoa! It just blew over the plane -- how high would you say that is?
(not looking up from Europe On $1.98 A Day)
I don't really know.
Oh god no!! There's a doll heading for the --
We hear a horrible fwoomp sound as the doll is sucked though the jet engine. In an instant it's nothing more than a poof of polyester stuffing swirling down the runway. Bob finally looks out the window at all the clothes scattering into the distance. Now the engine is making an unfortunate noise that doesn't sound familiar to anyone who's ever flown before.
(beginning to piece it all together -- wishing she weren't)
Did you put Ella's Ugly Doll in your suitcase?
Bob continues looking out the window. Speechless. A pair of underwear is draped over the edge of the wing.
And those are your underwear aren't they?
The Captain says something in Serbian over the PA. There's a collective groan as every passenger on the plane unbuckles and fills the aisle reaching for their carry on. No translation is necessary, but it goes something like this --
Ladies and gentleman we will be returning to the gate due to engine failure. If the name written in the waistband of the underwear stuck to my windshield is accurate, we have passenger Bob Redpath to thank for the delay.
Maybe I should get a bourbon instead of ginger ale.
I wake up with a start and drenched in sweat, check the waistband of my pajamas -- it's me all right. I vow to get new suitcases.
I have no doubt that if I don't get new luggage, this very thing will happen to me. It might even end with some kind of beating incident while I'm trying to gather my socks from the runway. Brenna and I had started shopping for new luggage, but realized that we could either afford to buy new suitcases or travel, but not both. So now when I say new, I mean new to me. Yesterday we hit six different thrift stores in the Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena area and came up with some amazing finds. So far we've collected three various pieces, which new would have cost several hundred dollars (one was a Victorinox,) for the low low price of $45. We'll end up with a colorful assortment of luggage in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures, but by god I will not have to chase my wardrobe down a windy Serbian runway.