…until I get back from my ten-day Roman Empire cruise on July 18th. I have been in Michigan for the past week, and today is my only full day back home, hence the lack of updates. I don’t know what my internet situation will be, and even if I have it I will likely be too busy relaxing away from the grind of farting around to write anything substantial. Until I come back, here’s a story for you to mull over:
Martin was a boy once. Now he’s a man, as most little boys become one way or another, but this story is not about that part of Martin. This story is about the eleven-year-old Martin who went to see his father for the very first time.
You see, Martin’s legal last name was Schumaker, a name which none of his blood relatives shared. His mother, a Paterson (such a well-respected Christian family), was nineteen when Martin ceased to be a fetus, and would be thirty had she lived past that moment. His father, a retired Mormon minister of the family Henderick, went on a drinking binge one night shortly after his first wife died in a car crash and he lost his faith and his will to live. Hence Martin.
Mr. Henderick (that was what Martin called him) insisted that they meet. He paid for Martin’s flight and everything. An impressive feat, considering he was trying very hard to hold two unsteady jobs at the time, a situation he had grown used to over the past eleven years.
Martin arrived at the Toronto airport at 10:51 that Friday night. Of course, he proceeded directly to the baggage claim. He waited for the luggage to travel over the conveyor belt once. Then again. Then one more time. At this point, there were only three bags left, none of them Martin’s. Being young and inexperienced, he didn’t know what to do.
Really, this is something that the airlines should have figured out by now, right? I mean, the first manned fixed-wing flight was over one-hundred years ago. Rail companies never lose luggage, now do they? Sure, fatalaties are higher, but to go somewhere by train you’re paying significantly less for a more predictable ride, with no tacked on “checked baggage” fees or whatever, and nobody ever walks away from a train without a bag unless they leave it there in their own stupidity! It doesn’t matter how many airlines I transfer between, when all the flights are one time, when the airport at which my suitcase was supposedly left had a layover of two hours, the airlines should be able to figure out a system of, oh, I don’t know, reading the tags and then putting the bag onto another plane like every other bag?
But no, two airlines is too much work. Switch from United to Northwestern and no amount of procedure is going to help them geta suitcase onto another plane. It’s not even as if there are a bunch of planes all packed in one space, there’s one gigantic plane, and it’s the only one going to Detroit, and this is Indianapolis for God’s sake! How screwed up does the system have to be to lose a bag in Indianapolis!
And now we have to pay to check bags. This particular bag cost twenty dollars to load underneath the plane, as opposed to the zero dollars it would cost had a brought the same weight in a slightly smaller package onto the plane and put it above my head. Before, losing bags was somewhat acceptable, as checked bags were more of a convenience tacked on at no extra charge. No guarantees, right? But now, it’s crossed the line into a service. And, this is how services work: you tell me what you are offering, I give you the amount of money agreed upon prior to the transaction, and then you perform the service as advertised. If that transaction is not carried out to the extent of the previously-agreed-upon deal, one of the parties has a right to file a lawsuit against the other for unlawful business practices. If I give an airline twenty dollars to take my luggage from one place to another in eight hours, and it’s not there, I should get a refund, and they should figure out how to get the thing out of Indianapolis on, say, one of the planes to Detroit! There were three today, it was on none of them! How much time do they need?
I’m just glad I had enough books in my backpack to get through the cruise. Cryptonomicon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Illustrated Man, A Pebble In The Sky, I think these will be enough. Hopefully.
Anyway, what was I talking about before?