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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Travels without my Suitcase
I've been in Ohio for a couple of days now, and am well over the jetlag, though it's been replaced by common or garden tiredness from all the socializing, watching papers, getting up early for various reasons, etc.

My trip to the US began with a very pleasant detour to Boston where I stayed with diceytillerman. I'm just sorry it was such a short visit - really only a few hours.

I'd forgotten what colourful names the stations on the T have: there's something rather wonderful about getting a train to Alewife, Maverick or Wonderland. Then again, I might think the same about Cockfosters if I weren't used to it...

The trip was smooth, except that when my suitcase appeared on the baggage claim belt it was swathed in tape, courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration, who had broken the lock off and inserted the following billet doux:


There seemed to be no one to blame, except perhaps for Osama bin Laden, so I bought a new padlock and thought no more about it. (This new lock was, as it happened, one of the TSA-approved 'Safe Skies' variety.)

The next day there were traffic control delays, and in the end I was rerouted to Columbus via Washington. I wasn't too surprised on reaching the end of my journey to get an email telling me that my luggage hadn't been on the same flight as me (after all, something similar happened last year when I got a tight connection to Tokyo) but it made for a rather sleepless first night in Columbus, having no clean clothes to change into and hoping that the case would catch up some time overnight.

In the morning it duly arrived, and just like last year, there was a moment of intimacy between suitcase and human being:


The poor thing had, once again, been visited by the TSA, who had removed the TSA-approved lock and left another note apologising for doing so. Was I just very unlucky, or does this happen to everyone's luggage?

Anyway, so far Columbus is fun. The conference is excellent, the weather not quite as diabolically hot nor the air-conditioning as brutally cold as I'd been fearing, and I've been hanging out with friends old and new. I gave my paper on Puella Magi Madoka Magica at 8am this morning to a select audience of early birds, but it went pretty well - and in fact one of the major journal editors invited me to work it up into an article. Which I'd been thinking of doing anyway, but certainly will now.

As promised by kalimac, I'm staying right across from the Statehouse, which boasts a large bronze statue of William McKinley, flanked by two groups of allegorical supporters, of which this is the more inscrutable:


I'm just sorry it was such a short visit - really only a few hours.

Short but so much fun! I was so glad to have you!

What does it mean for the new lock to be TSA-approved if they still cut it off? I would have thought it meant they could remove it without breaking it, and then put it back on, but clearly not.

I suspect it means that they're easier to break!

A little digging reveals that the figures represent Prosperity, but not how or why.

How odd.

I was thinking they might be Daedalus and Icarus.

If they're prosperous I feel they should invest in a flat surface - otherwise those dividers will be pretty useless.

Prosperity? Oooooookaythen.

My trip to the US began with a very pleasant detour to Boston where I stayed with diceytillerman. I'm just sorry it was such a short visit - really only a few hours.

Seriously! I'd at least have waved from across the street!

I like the portrait of you and your luggage. I'm sorry the TSA won't leave it alone.

They're obviously as attracted to it as I am.

Wait, I missed you?

Congratulations on the editorial interest.


I arrived at 4.30pm and was away again by 9.00am - far too short! But work commitments at either end of the trip made it impossible to stay longer.

I (still) always giggle at Cockfosters.

Sorry to hear about the suitcase. At least they put a note in! When I went back for Christmas they opened the case, rummaged through everything, tossed it haphazardly back in, and never acknowledged doing so. :p

I'm beginning to wonder if they aren't a little overstaffed.

TSA? To promote freedom we bust your bag open.

It shows they care.

That sounds unlucky getting the suitcase searched twice. Because of the risk of getting the case searched, I can't use our big and expensive case any more. It has an integral lock and if they broke it the case would be ruined. Therefore we always have to use the cheap cases with zips and replaceable mini-padlocks.

That's what I'm using too, luckily - the case itself appears to be undamaged.

So we're not the only ones who've been having travel issues?

See my recent!

Indeed! I felt my little difficulties paled when I read yours. I suspect there are more hotels in Washington than in Inverness, if the worst had come to the worst.

That business with the locks, without even replacing them, is an invasion of privacy, IMO. And doing it when you weren't there, it's an opportunity for theft. Who would accuse an official of theft, after all? You'd wonder if maybe you left whatever at home or lost it elsewhere and hurry off to your connection. I hope you at least had waning that this might happen?

Ashkitty, I remember having a customs official at Melbourne Airport doing that to me once - tossing all my stuff out as I watched and leaving me to repack it myself. I was the last in the queue and I guess he felt he wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't check at least one passenger, but at least he could have repacked. Contrast that with Tel Aviv airport, where they really do have to check everyone, and they lifted your stuff carefully, put it back neatly and wished you a pleasant flight! His rudeness was definitely not a good advertisement for Australia, and I said so.

I didn't have specific warning, no, though of course I was aware in a general way that security at US airports is quite (up)tight.

I find I have to wonder if this has anything to do with your having expressed approval of some of my posts now and then.

Gotta make an example of people who are nice to critics of the First Citizen.

Edited at 2016-06-11 01:51 pm (UTC)

I try to be nice to everyone, which means that I'm probably blacklisted by everyone too.

I'm glad the talk went well! :D :D :D

and omg your luck with suitcases...

I should really know better by now. Diana Wynne Jones bequeathed me a portion of her travel jinx, I think.

I have long since given up with locks and use twisty ties on suitcase zippers. They're cheap, replaceable, and about as much of a deterrent as a cheap breakable lock if someone really wants to open up the suitcase.

That's an excellent idea - thanks!


(expanding on my comment in another place)

Ooh, nice song! Thank you.

I hoped you would like it :-)