Saturday, February 22, 2014

Working Hard To Get Back To The Start - Tag Your Luggage, And Richard Powers' Orpheo

Sometimes you have to work to just get back to where you started.  Most of this was my own fault.  It began Wednesday night at my mom's house when I opened my suitcase and found out it wasn't mine.

I called Alaska Airlines and related how someone had handed down my carry-on suitcase from a row or two behind and I hadn't looked at it carefully as people were waiting to get off.  I had the name of the person whose suitcase I had, but she said he wasn't listed on the flight.  And no extra suitcases were found either.  Uh oh.  Did I mix it up in the bathroom? Or on the shuttle bus?  

I called OP (other passenger), but there was no answer or voice mail.  I emailed him and went to bed.  He called the next morning, relieved that his suitcase was safe and said that the shuttle driver had taken mine to lost and found.  I called the shuttle company, they gave me another number, but they didn't have it, but gave me another number.  Nor did they.  But they gave me yet another number (the lost and found of the shuttle service whom I called in the first place) and they had it. 

I got into my mom's car to get my suitcase, but it wouldn't start.  I borrowed another car.   When I got there and told her who I was, the woman said that someone had just picked it up.  I'm not sure what my face said back to her, but she quickly said, "Just joking" and gave me my suitcase.  You really start thinking about what you had in there and how easy or hard it will be to replace.  When I got back with my suitcase I called the Auto Club which came to start my mom's car and then on his advice, drove it for 45 minutes.

There were a couple of other little things I had to redo - fix one of the toilets, and get the 'lost wallet' charge off one of my mom's credit cards.  I'd already done that last November, but it was on the January bill again.

And VISA declined a purchase while we were in Seattle.  I guess I like that they're noticing when we aren't where we normally are and they fixed it when I called. I told them we'd be in LA.  But today, J got turned down again.   One more call to get back to the beginning. He said our Seattle update didn't get updated.  When I asked what that meant, he said it wasn't recorded.  We've had a pretty regular pattern of being in LA this last year and shopping at that market.  It's not part of our pattern that they should be able to see from our billing record.  Guess they aren't as sophisticated as they'd like us to believe. 

Meanwhile, J spent Thursday sleeping and Friday was my turn - no pains or queasiness for me, just depleted.  Flu?  Maybe.  J had a flu shot this year, but I didn't. 

But there were some upsides.  OP, who came out in the evening to get his suitcase (I offered to take it to him, but he declined), turned out to be a very nice person who's been to 49 states, except you-know-which-one.  I told him I'd pick him up at the airport when he comes.

And while I was driving the car to charge up the battery, I heard a phenomenal book review of Richard Powers' new book, Orpheo on KCRW's Bookworm.   Reviewer, Michale Silverblatt, engaged Powers at a level commensurate with the complexity of the themes in the book.  I posted in 2007 about Powers' The Echo Maker, an incredible book that interweaves the ancient migration pattern built into the genetic memory of sandhill cranes and the memory problems caused by capgras syndrome. Do try the link to the interview.  [I know the link is just above, but I figure the easier I make it to link, the more likely someone will.]

I also learned, looking up Richard Powers, that our paths have crossed - he was a student at the International School in Bangkok while I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and he returned home to DeKalb, Illinois where my Peace Corps group had trained.  This was about the same time Robert Merton was electrocuted in Samut Prakan, just south of Bangkok.

My todo list from this post?

1.  Put my name and contact info on the outside of my carryons as well as things I check in.  I had a very distinctive name tag on my roll-on (thanks Carol), but it disappeared on the previous trip when it flew as check-in.  And I didn't replace it.  Even after discussion the check-in lady in Anchorage talked about someone who had her name clearly on the outside of everything and on the inside as well.  (I did have a photo of the suitcase.)

2.  Look for Richard Powers' Orpheo.

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