The World Traveler
Everyone thinks my life is glamorous in that
I get to travel to so many cities and countries around the world.
And it does sound wonderful at first, but I have my moments where
I am caught in situations that become
very difficult and this type of life becomes very unappealing.
To make contacts, find participants willing to play this sport which they never heard of before (and requires very long conversations), to get fields, establish liaisons with these country's national sports clubs (diplomacy) can be tricky, time consuming, requires patience, thoughtfulness and not to forget.......... someone has to carry the bags (280 pounds)!
I am in New York, it is three days before I
leave (May 1st) and I call up the airlines to find out what the
restrictions are for maximum luggage. My limits are: 2 bags (70
lb. weight limit), one carry on (40 lb. limit) and one personal
bag (computer). I can bring a third bag, which will cost an extra
It is two days before I leave for Scandinavia when I begin to start my pack. I don't know what I was thinking, but in my mind, I saw all of my equipment fitting into two large suitcases.
I soon realize, this was a dream. I go out to the store to buy a third large bag.
Now that I will take a third bag, I decide
I should bring my bowling ball with me (I am bowling in the Euro
games, in Copenhagen, Denmark). Originally, I was to ship the
ball, by boat (it is 10 lbs.). But now, I should be able to fit
everything to take with me on the plane.
Once again, I was dreaming. The third bag I purchased, was enormous, but I have the weight limits. I stand on the scale and take my weight. Then I stand on the scale and lift each bag. I weigh 140 lbs. and with my first bag, the scale goes up to 215 ( you can figure out the weight of this bag). The second bag, with me weighs 220, and the very large third bag weighs 230. Now I have to use my carry on in a smart way. I take my bowling ball out, some belts &flags, and move my clothes around. In my carry on, which was already filled with belongings (and weighed 35 lbs), I now have my bowling ball, belts&flags, underwear and toothbrush (I guess these essentials tells you of my life priorities). I have to leave behind some equipment, but still I am 10 lbs.+ over weight in all of my bags. So I bring my friend, Kathy, who will come with me and stay with until I check-in, and two large garbage bags (just in case I have to start editing once again).
The Morning I am to Leave
We drag each bag down the stairs, and together lift each bag into the car. The trunk is tied down, and the back seat of car blocks the view for the driver. We go to have breakfast and think of creative explanations I will tell the woman at the "check-in", as to why I should be allowed to take all this weight. I am certain that once the woman understands American Airlines is our domestic airline sponsor, that she will feel proud to let me on the plane to create new teams of women's and girls flag football.
At the airport
Me and Kathy are trying to make these bags look as if they do not weigh anything, as we roll the bags in. It is obvious when we try to lift each bag, that either we are so weak, or these bags are sooo heavy. The woman does not care, because she is trying to get me on an earlier flight and asks if that would be OK. I say "no problem" and she gives me 3 bar code stickers that I am to put on each of my bags. We have a nice little conversation as we wait for my airline tickets to be printed out, and I tell her I have my bowling ball with me (implying this is an unusual piece of article to bring on the plane with me) and she says this is nothing, that many "stranger" things have been brought on the plane before.
The Bad Man
So, I have made it through the check in. What a relief! truly, I was worried. But now, I can say good-bye to Kathy and be on my way. I go through the gate, and my computer, personal luggage and shoes are sent through the X-ray machine. The man, takes my personal bag off the belt and asks if this belongs to me. I say "yes" and he asks me to follow him.
We go to a table on the side and he asks me
to open it up. He wonders what is in it that is unusual and I
tell him it must be my bowling ball. Sure enough, when he goes
through my bag, he sees the ball and tells me "you cannot
bring the bowling ball onto the plane"
I said: "what?"
he said: "you cannot bring the bowling ball on the plane"
I said: "why?"
He said: "It is dangerous"+= Dangerous
I said: "what? how in the world is it dangerous?"He said: "you can take the ball and throw it"
I said: "are you sure? can you ask your supervisor to make sure?"
He said: "I just asked my supervisor (and the supervisor was standing there just then) and he told me under the federal law, you cannot take this bowling ball onto the plane"
I said: "now you have to be smart and not so stupid (Let's put 2 + 2 together!), how in the world can I really use this ball as a weapon?,
I have a hard enough time rolling this ball
and hitting the pins which are not stationary, much less throwing
it very far!"
He said: "you cannot go on the plane with
I said: "well what am I suppose to do?, I need it to bowl with"
He said: "you will have to leave it behind"
I call up Kathy on my cell phone and day: "Kathy, have you left the airport yet?, they are not letting me take my bowling ball and you may have to ship it for me"
and just then, the man says: "maybe you can check it in?"
I tell Kathy to hold and wait to see if I can do this (my 4th piece of luggage, I can only imagine how much this will cost me).
So I go to the counter, and explain to the woman, this ridiculous rule. She explains this is the federal government and not the airlines restrictions. She takes the bag, and does not charge me any additional money........ she is a nice woman.
I call up Kathy (who has been waiting on the shoulder of the road near the airport's exit) in her car to tell her she can go. I later picked up a message on my cell phone from Kathy who called me before I cleared the bowling ball, who suggested I drop the ball on the man's foot. And when I go through the screening again (shoes off, money and keys out of my pockets, etc),
I tell the man, how dangerous is a bottle of liquor when you buy at the tax-duty free and bring it on board the plane?.
It wasn't his fault, he was just doing his job, but what is this world coming to?
Now, when I travel, I warn people "watch out...... I have a bowling ball" and it makes a funny story.