On my way home from New York in November, I was cursing myself for oversleeping and getting a late start to the airport. I'm a procrastinator and hate mornings- a bad combination for early departures. When I arrived at the airport, I raced down the walkway, rolling my suitcase, and landed in the skycap line out of breath.
"You're overweight" said the skycap.
"Jesus. Well, good morning to you, too," I said, shrugged my shoulders, and mouthed a "What the fu-?" to the guy behind me.
"Ma'am," the skycap continued "you've got excess baggage."
"Seriously?" I asked. "Is it that obvious I'm marginally, or maybe somewhat f*cked up just from looking at me? You can eyeball me in an instant and know I've got issues without any knowledge of my parents' divorce, my test anxiety, a bullying ex-husband, and my I've-just-about-had-enough-of-happily-married-couples? Are my fears and resentments really that palpable?"
"Lady, your bag needs to weigh less than 50 pounds and you're tipping the scale at 67. Your baggage is over the limit. You wanna take a moment and remove some of the excess?"
"Ma'am," he said, "you've got too much baggage. You've got to deal with it."
"Right here and now, on the curb at LaGuardia, you want me to deal with my excess baggage? Really... And just how do you suggest I magically deal with it? Do you have a leather couch beyond that conveyor belt? I mean I've got 45 years of baggage, it's gonna take some time."
"Ma'am, we try to keep this drop area a drama-free zone, see the sign over there? You look resourceful, I'm sure you can find a way to reduce your excess baggage."
"Buddy, I'm not resourceful. I'm a divorced, 45-year old, single mom. I'm seriously at the bottom of the food chain. Read plankton, dude. You think I can just stuff the excess baggage into another bag and lug that around? Or, worse, hand it off to some guy to carry around for me for a while?"
"Um," piped up the guy in line behind me, "I don't mean to be rude, but I can't take on her excess baggage. I'm already on my third wife and my son was expelled from another school last week. I've hit capacity."
"I guess you're stuck with it" said the skycap. "I'm gonna have to charge you $90."
"I'm good with that," I said. "It's been quite a journey. Can't wait to see what happens next. Those carry-on types are total bores."