both suitcases sit splayed on the carpet. we stand around, murmuring with each-other, one folding clothes, one fixing them, one taking them out and putting them in the other one. then we zip them up and we weight them.
this one is 59.
shoot. how about the other one?
this one is 62
what on earth do you have in here?
i don’t know. stuff. my things, the clothes I got at the mall, your gifts.
ok, let’s open them again.
we open them again.
see, i told you not to put the medicine in their boxes. take them out.
but I won’t remember what they are for.
come on, you got 20 boxes of Advil there. what do you think they are for.
people will think i am giving them used stuff.
yeah right. they have the seal inside, see. keep the receipts too.
we zip them up and weigh them again. 60 and 58 lbs. oh poot.
we circle them. hmm.
let me see the pockets. you got books in there!!! are you crazy? i told you to keep the books in your tote.
but they are heavy and i do not want to haul them for 13 hours…
you want to pay $100 extra?
come on I’ll pay the hundred.
yeah, right we know you are made of money. let’s do this. put the books in the carry on. put the shoes there too…good. now put the clothes in the blue suitcase. what is that?
the liquor bottle you wanted me to bring to uncle.
but they won’t let you carry that with you. you have to put it in the check-in luggage… and why do you have the porcelain spoon in your carry on?
i was afraid it would break.
are you crazy? do you want to be arrested for terrorism? we’ll wrap it up in your underwear, put it inside the boot and…there, not even elephant stomping can break that.
that is Dila’ s package. you know i had to take it. she takes stuff for me all the time
huh? what is in there?
she said it was a few things for her little nephew.
and you did not check it? it is scotch-taped to the nines. what if there are drugs in there, huh?
come on, woman. stop exaggerating.
well, i don’t care. you’re the one the cops will be having fun with.
uf, we will never learn. you know, my dream is to just pack up my toothbrush, underwear and a cellphone and go. that’s it. no grandma booties, no riccotta cheese, no olive oil, no foreign shampoo, no plastic doilies…
yeah right, you’re the one who eats the riccotta cheese, not I.
we circle the suitcases again and again… and talk. and think. and yell at each-other. and talk again. and fold, put in, take out, unfold, fold it differently and put it in a different bag. after 4 hours of contemplation, we finally have two suitcases at respectively 55 and 56 lbs each, one carryon at 22 (including shoes and books), one tote big enough to carry a whole suitcase in and bursting with underwear, and a fany pack. and yes, she is carrying her heavy jacket, her lighter jacket, blazer, cardigan and scarf. we hope on the goodness of the airline agent’s heart.
hmm, they’ll think i got a ticket for trailing outside the plane, not for traveling inside.
come on everybody does that. besides, the flight attendants usually put your carry on in the pilot’s cabin.
what if they won’t check my luggage?
of course they will. and if worse comes to worst, we’ll pay $100.
then why did we go through all that for 4 hours?
but i must admit, now that we are done, it feels like the greatest accomplishment in the world. another happy cousin, going home to make the other cousins happy too (or envious, or unsatisfied with the weird gifts she brought for them). the point is, we’ve managed once again to beat the airline system, and send home things. because we cannot go ourselves.