Carrying On About Carry-On
WHEN THEY SAY “CARRY-ON” LUGGAGE I don’t think that they mean luggage that has so much stuff in it that the Airline Cabin Crew, other passengers, Customs people, car rental people, and me start to carry on about it.
I must admit that my carry-on is just that, but in the same way that a 30 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer on wheels can be considered “portable.”
My carry-on bag for our flight over the Atlantic is called a “Messenger Bag.” I think that it was designed to be big enough to carry messages, but not the messenger. I had so much in my bag that it could have been renamed a “Supplies for a ten year round trip to the outer reaches of the solar system” bag.
I packed my netbook computer, Kindle, a few jump drives with music and movies, the Medusa of cables and adaptors, a Ziploc bag with an extra pair of socks and undies (Just in case our checked bags went to Dubai instead of Dublin), and 7 weeks’ worth of my meds.
That may not sound like anything all that bulky or heavy until we get to the last item – my meds.
Thanks to Modern Medicine, and a couple of scares, I am alive. Runaway high blood pressure (brought on by stress that I might write about someday) had me on the edge of the abyss. As the price for surviving I now down a daily buffet of medications and supplements that keep my BP in check and give me an aerobic workout just carrying my day’s dosage around with me. I think of it as “Pumping Prescriptions” so that when I go to bed at night I can mimic Arnold the Terminator and say, “I’ll be back.”
Packing for a seven week long excursion overseas took some planning. I began massaging the egos at the Kroger Pharmacy months ago so they would cooperate and not forget to submit my request to the insurance carrier for an early bulk shipment of my needed junk. The same with my doctor so he would write the necessary scrips. All I had to promise was a small bag of sand for one of the pharmacists and plenty of pictures for the doctor.
Everything was put in my hands about 10 days before liftoff. Then came the challenge of trying to find the best way to pack it.
Rule #1 – Never pack meds in checked luggage. Anything with a perceived street value tends to grow legs and walk away.
Rule #2 – All meds must be in their original containers.
I seriously doubt that the TSA automatons can tell the difference between heart medication and a bag of M&Ms. Unless they get snotty with me, I’ll pretend they serve a purpose while they pretend to have opposable thumbs.
After a few attempts and reconfigurations of the little orange plastic bottles I got everything into my carry-on messenger bag. I was so proud. Giving it a heft, however, I felt my shoulder dip like I was playing the part of “El Pachuco” in the movie “Zoot Suit (From 1981 – I highly recommend it).
“I’m fine. I got it.”
Being able to carry on with my carry-on was going to require some practice I didn’t look any more suspicious than usual as I went through Customs. I didn’t want to look like I was trying to smuggle my cousin Faisal into the country. People are touchy today.
All in all, things went well on both ends. The TSA bipeds in this country looked stern while trying to hide their dilated pupils, and the folks in Irish Customs were professional and able to read without moving their lips.
On our way home in a few weeks we will go through everything in reverse – only then my bag will be much lighter. I may have a few souvenirs in the bag, but I know that it will be much lighter and my posture will be better.