When we picked up my bag at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport the main handle was hanging on by an elastic thread. It came all the way off the second I touched it. I’m always a little sad when I have to retire a piece of luggage, especially when it has been with me through some good trips, and especially when we have been lost and reunited three times - thousands of miles from home. The handle from this ol feller had one strip of country-fair style ribbon, a leather luggage tag (lost), and no less than a dozen different little elastic loops where I had attached a handwritten tag on according to which airline I was flying.
You know those paper tags always get torn off (but the elastic stays behind with a little bit of paper that you never bother to remove) so I imagine that my phone number and name are flying around random parts of The Great 48 like accidental calling cards for another neurotic traveler.
If I have to wait too long in the baggage drop line I start to think that if US Airways sees my Delta tag they will not properly process it so I grab one of those US Airways paper tags out of their inviting tag bucket and fill it out while the people behind me get extreme line anxiety at the site of someone using a paper and pen (My god! What IS that device? An inkpen? This could take HOURS!!).
Because I worked in a small parts factory where we glued credit cards to credit card offers I have the habit of wondering about the 6am-2pm shift of workers that might have put my daily junk together, I always wonder who loops the elastic through those tiny loops. Do they wear special gloves to prevent chaffing from the elastic? Do they hit each other with the elastic bands? Do they have to punch their own holes? Is there the one guy that drinks in the bathroom on break? Is everyone afraid of the manager? Do they sit around and ask, “Who the hell fills these dumb tags out out any more?”