Of Broken Toes and Baggage Woes

“Look down.”

When I do, I see my mother’s second toe is mangled into the shape of the letter L.

We left for the airport just ten minutes prior. With stomach aching from my last Long Island deli sandwich, we stop at the drug store for a last minute purchase. My mother exited the car a moment after I entered the establishment, apparently falling on the curb. She scraped her hands, bruised her knee, and the toe — oh the toe! Deformed, we are unsure if it is fractured or dislocated. I gasp as I see it. My mom’s face is very straight and her voice is matter-of-fact. She hobbles behind a nearby aisle as I stand on the check-out line while frantically calling my sister. “Yes. We need you to come. Mom fell! Make sure you have ice ready!”

Mom reappears as I pay for my purchases. As flatly as before, she states, “I fixed it.”

My mom. The medic. The badass. She pulled her own toe back into place.

“Oh my god. Just know that I’m driving to C’s,” I say, wide eyed and stunned.

After a car ride filled with my sister’s very helpful humor and racecar driver skills (there’s no way she was allowing hobble-mom or moving-weary-me to have the wheel), we arrive at JFK. V is there at the curb with his father, carts ready to carry our massive amounts of luggage into the terminal.

Have you ever had your carry-on bags weighed? Now we have. After measuring and re-distributing items so our four large bags met the allotted kilogram check-in requirements, our bitchy boarding pass attendant notices our remaining items. “That is much too much,” she snorts. We check one more bag and use V’s father as a decoy, taking one of our bags away from the desk. Yes, we sent it home with him, we smile. Oh, we’re sorry; we read the website and thought we were allowed one bag and one personal item each.

Sure, I typically hate those people with their huge carry-ons that occupy the overhead bins. But we’re moving. And we’re geeks with electronics that are not going in the belly of the plane or with Fed-Ex. I have to employ more sympathy with the excessive compartment offenders in the future. They could be moving too, right?

The security line is efficient. However, when you are a non-white gentlemen with a duffle bag nearly exploding (yes, I said it) with various cameras, lenses, flashes, wires, and computers, you will be required to unpack your bag and allow the guards to assess each piece. I wait and make last minute phone calls while V is scrutinized. At least we picked the checkpoint without the body scanner.

Soon, Larry, the info desk man, (also of 1970s disco fame, we learn) directs us to the sports bar where we happily drink our last American beers. As a cheers, I suggest the banishing of all talk of activities that transpired between 1 pm and that moment.

And as I board the plane, renewed and excited, I trip and break my flip flop. So close. So, so close.

4 thoughts on “Of Broken Toes and Baggage Woes

  1. No. No sympathy for excessive compartment offenders – they’re cheap, not moving…and what’s convenient for them is inconvenient for every other being on the aircraft. It’s despicable.

  2. I think people can do whatever they want in terms of over-comparmenting. It’s totally a trade-off – buy early and pick an early boarding zone and/or get in line ASAP, and have more space for your stuff, or buy late and/or wait for the boarding line to subside, relaxing with your book in a chair, and then deal with minimal space.

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