The day I arrive in London is a flurry of trying to get to my friend’s house and intense jet lag. I wake up at six the next morning completely rested and ready to begin my grand adventure after 10 hours of glorious uninterrupted, completely vertical sleep. (I think one of my favorite feelings in the world is finally being able to lie down after trying unsuccessfully to sleep on an airplane.)
I sit up, rub the sleep from my eyes, and greet the chirping birds at my window with a song, who then immediately scatter as if someone has shot at them, unphased I begin to search through my suitcase for shampoo. Only to find piles of fur and intensely high heels instead. I feel a wave of panic, manifesting itself as nausea, hit me. I struggle to breathe as I frantically search for the bag’s name tag.
Of course, it’s been violently ripped off.
I inspect the bag more closely. This is so OBVIOUSLY not my bag. The color is more muted, and the maker isn’t even the same. At least I am 85% sure the maker isn’t the same. In my defense, this is the first time I’ve used this bag, and I bought it specifically because it was red, thinking that would make it easier to find. Effects of sleep, or lack there of, are real people, also, this is just so typical for me.
I call the airport, but I am sent through a maze of operators before eventually I am given the chance to leave a voicemail, where my “call is very important to us and will be returned as soon as possible.” Ugh.
Obviously, I need to be more proactive. I wake up my poor, extremely groggy friend in order to explain the situation to him. He just shakes his head, like he was waiting for something like this to happen, gives a halfhearted offer to join me and without waiting for a response immediately goes back to sleep. I embark on the 2 hour metro journey lugging this woman’s enormous and heavy suitcase up and down numerous flights of stairs and onto 3 trains. This is my penance for stealing.
Once at my destination, extremely disheveled and sweaty, I am met with a look of pity as I begin my story, which quickly turns to disdain and an eye roll once I am forced to admit that all of this is completely my fault. One of the airport attendants even goes so far as to indirectly/directly call me an idiot. British humour? Mildly deserved.
After all the paper work, judgment and metal detectors, I am finally allowed into the lost luggage section. In reality, it’s a unkempt maze located at the far left corner of baggage claim, where hundreds of bags have been piled on top of trolleys with no discernible rhyme or reason. I am face to face with the adult version of Where’s Waldo. Usually adult versions of kids games come with alcohol (just saying). Not only did I hate Where’s Waldo as a kid, because I never ever found anyone, but I am also not 100% sure what my suitcase actually looks like.
30 minutes, two toppled trolleys and a few tears later I still haven’t found my bag. It’s not even 10am, and I want to run to the nearest bar.
After another 30 minutes I FaceTime my dad in sheer desperation. He helps me meticulously sort through the chaos to locate every single red suitcase, which I then have to either open or find the name tag for. Nothing.
Towards the end of this ridiculous search, I just sit down on the cold linoleum floor and start sobbing, my dad awkwardly silent on the other end. Just as he’s attempting to coax me up for another round, with a “This isn’t appropriate behavior for a 24 year old,” I noticed a trolley being pushed towards me. This one is new. This one has a shiny red suitcase on top, which looks kind of familiar. I launch myself at that trolley and frantically look for the name tag.
YESSSSSSSSS! I squeal with joy and hug the poor man pushing the trolley, who seizes up like I’d just tazed him.
Note to self: Buy lime green suitcases from now on and don’t throw yourself onto British people.