Carry On!

What my bag did on its summer vacation.

By the time I arrived at Denver International Airport, I was ready to plant a big wet one on that giant picture of Mayor Wellington Webb that welcomes you to this city.

Welcomes you, but not your bags.

Still, the United employee who took my "delayed baggage report" was very pleasant, sorting through my now grimy documents and promising that the bag would be located soon. And when I later called the 800 number printed on my copy of that report (Memo to United: thanks!), the helpful automated voice that mysteriously figures out how to put together answers through grunts into a phone said that my suitcase would be delivered to my office between 2 and 6 p.m. on Monday, and that it was really not necessary to call again. So even as I thought longingly of my toothbrush and my notebooks and a change of clothes, I refrained from calling again...until 6:05 p.m. And again at 7 p.m. And again at 9 p.m., when a United customer rep said that a Denver delivery company had picked up my bag at noon that day. She'd have someone call.

And someone did, promising that the bag would be at the office at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

By then, I'd found a toothbrush and changed my clothes and was only missing my notebook...and some patience. At 10 a.m., I called the delivery company. (Memo to whoever talked to me Monday night: Thanks for coughing up the number.) It turned out my bag was on its way back to DIA, because it hadn't been properly tagged.

My underwired bosom heaved in despair. Please, I said, there's going to be a big blank hole in this paper.

But as it turns out, I was wrong, wasn't I?

As travel-horror stories go, I know this isn't a real contender -- although that vision of pee-filled passengers is a grabber. And it's not nearly enough to put me off flying. I love to fly. I love every bizarre moment of flying -- the groping security screeners, the $8 slices of pizza, the sleeping fellow next to you who flops his head over on your shoulder and starts drooling. Most of all, I love the idea that when you're flying, for a couple of hours someone else is in control.

Or not.

P.S.: My bag arrived at 1 p.m. Tuesday, festooned with a note from someone named David -- "This bag is in the delivery bin. I could not find the delivery tag or find it in the system" -- and an apology from United, mysteriously labeled "Quickly Tag."

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