You know how you used to be able to tell a West Indian or a Caribbean person before he or she opened her mouth? If you were travelling, you’d realise that a person is from the same region as you, when you see that person hastily repacking a suitcase right in front of the scale used to weigh the luggage at the check-in counter.
“Overweight” is one of those bad words for us Caribbean people, so given that, I’ve always wondered what it is that we have to pack so? What’s more remarkable though, is the fact that the person doing the repacking always manages to do it with such purpose and with not one iota of embarrassment. Or so it seemed.
Meanwhile I would look on in horror as the underwear got folded up smaller, the new school shoes were stuffed into an as yet unstuffed area of the suitcase and the person got comfortable on the floor, the better to completely rearrange the cargo. After which the suitcase was sat on, to enable it to close.
If the person was travelling with another, that person’s suitcase was also opened to use whatever spaced remained there. Cause it was share and share alike. Unfortunately, that meant having to mess up the deliberate packing of certain items that you didn’t want those nosy Customs officers to see.
Well I thought those days were gone, but when I travelled recently I was actually two persons behind a man who was doing just that. His ram-packed suitcase lay open as he tried to re-distribute the weight from a suitcase that was over the limit that the airplane was willing to allow (free) for one passenger alone.
Since he was going back to the Caribbean, he couldn’t exactly leave the items with the taxi driver who drove him to the airport. So I watched as he shifted the items hoping that they would suddenly weigh less. The friend he was travelling with stood by watching too, and since his bags had been weighed and had already gone through, he was only able to take a plastic bag or two off his hands.
The person in front of me moved on to the ticketing agent who was free, wishing me luck as he did so. But I was able to check in as the person re-packing his bags had to make way for others like me. He was still struggling to make space and I was hoping that he wasn’t going to ask me if I had any room.
Most females I know tend to over pack but I’ve begun to learn ways to carry more than I need and still have room to hold more. But I think that the gentleman in question shopped a little too zealously while on this trip. I hoped he had some money left to pay for what the airline was surely going to charge him when he finally came to terms with the fact that he just had too much stuff.
However, as I watched as all his possessions were laid bare to the four winds, I prayed that the weight of my bags came in under the limit.
Because, how would that look?