Monday, January 9, 2012

San Miguel: Take Two

Groggy with sleep and dark skies outside, I rolled out of bed on this our departure day to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where Alan and I were to spend the next two months. We'd both finished packing the night before, save for a few toilet articles to be stashed in our suitcases.

As usual, I'm the front traveler, up earlier and responsible for those last odds and ends like washing a dish, feeding the cats, packing some fruit to take on the plane. Things moved along on schedule and, by the time I woke Alan, I was dressed and ready to hit the road.

"I've rolled my big suitcase to the top of the stairs," I said. "It's too heavy for me to lug. Please carry it down for me."

"No problem," Alan said as he tied his shoes.

For anyone who doesn't know Alan, he is always late. I can't count the number of times I've spent egging him on, telling him to hurry up, scolding him for making me wait --- not to mention others who may be waiting. It's a tiresome task, believe me.
But today he was moving right along. I think he realized that it's no way to start a two-month trip aggravating me before we get out the front door.

We arrived at O'Hare in plenty of time before out 9:20 a.m. flight. The cab driver unloaded the suitcases and went on his way.

I rolled my small bag from the curb to the attendant, got in line, and waited while Alan toted the remaining suitcases.

"We have three suitcases to check," I said when it was my turn.

"Where's the third bag? I see only two."

I spun around and looked at our remaining suitcases. The big tan one with all my clothes was missing.

"It must be in the cab," I screamed. "Cab Number 212."

Alan took off running as if he were going to be able to catch up with the taxi. I frantically dialed 4-1-1 to get the cab company number.

"We have an emergency," I said to the dispatcher. "Cab 212 drove away from O'Hare with one of our bags. You've got to reach him and tell him to turn around."

"Stay on the line," he said much too calmly for my satisfaction.

While I'm hanging on the line, Alan returned to the curbside check-in, out of breath, mumbling something about he can't take this and he's never going to Mexico again or to anywhere else. "How could you forget your suitcase?"

"Did you bring it downstairs like I asked you?"

"I can't remember. I can't remember anything."

The dispatcher started talking, telling me that there was no suitcase in cab 212.

"It's not there," I said, fighting back the tears.

"Maybe someone walked away with it while we weren't looking," Alan offered.

I tried to restrain myself and mimic those twosomes on "The Amazing Race" who seem to be gentle and kind to one another even when one of them has lost his passport or driven on the wrong road. "I don't think that's likely. If it isn't in the cab, it's either on the street in front of the house or upstairs" because you forgot to bring it down.

"You're not going to blame me, are you? It's your damn suitcase."

He was right: I should have accounted for all luggage before we walked out the front door. But I hadn't, and it looked more and more likely as if we would miss our flight to Mexico.

"Did you try to call any neighbor? They could at least look to make sure it's not sitting on the street."

By then, it was 8:30 a.m., and I was sure the neighbors on either side had left for school or work. But I fumbled with the phone, called each one, and listened to unanswered rings as long as I could bare.

Then Alan had the brilliant idea of calling the taxi company again, asking if one of their guys close to the house could drive by, maybe look in the front window to see, if by some chance, the missing suitcase was sitting in the vestibule, forlorn. While the minutes ticked away and other, obviously happy, organized passengers checked their bags, I realized we were shit out of luck. Still, we persevered, hoping for the first time in our lives that the plane would be late. Very late.

No such luck. The plane was on time, and the second taxi driver verified that the suitcase was neither in the street in front of our house or in the vestibule. Either someone did swipe the bag (highly unlikely) or Alan had never brought it down the stairs. Whichever way you sliced it, we were headed home, not to San Miguel.

Exhausted, we dragged our luggage into another taxi and headed home. What if my suitcase weren't there? I'd have to go on one major shopping spree in just an afternoon and spend all the money I'd saved for the vacation. I shut my eyes and tried to repeat my mantra in a failed effort to relax.

"Give me the house key," I said a block before pulling up in front of our house. With the key in my hand, I ran up the front stairs, unlocked the door, hightailed it upstairs and, for a moment, saw nothing but my dear cat Zuni who'd had part of his tail amputated just days before. (But that's a story for another time.) But as I turned my head slightly to the left, there was the infamous suitcase staring back at me as if asking "What up?"

So, tomorrow we do it all over again. Alan has already carried it downstairs. We're leaving nothing to chance.

1 comment:

JRo345 said...

Oh Jane! Soooo tiresome traveling with a trip challenged partner! I know I have one! Doesn't pack his own suitcase - ugh probably cuz he can't find it sitting in front of him; wears a watch like it is Big Ben and a big gong is going to sound if we aren't at the designated spot at least 40 minutes ahead of time; and repeatedly can't remember to remove his belt going through security! I'm exhausted just writing this - can you imagine how tired I am once I board a plane???

Have a wonderful time. i look forward to your blog. L, J