Monday, August 25, 2014

A Suitcase Lost


Over the weekend I worked the USAC .25 race in Hagerstown, MD. When we arrived to the hotel Thursday night I had an issue with my suitcase. It started out as an inconvenience with the zipper not wanting to open. However, the problem persisted and I tried and tried to open it but it just wouldn’t budge.

I eventually asked the USAC .25 director, whom I was rooming with to help, and he tried and still nothing. This wasn’t looking good and when we took a closer look the zipper track and broken and the zipper itself had come apart from the suitcase itself. The damage, unfortunately, was terminal.

There wasn’t much that could be done to open the suitcase without destroying it and this is where my emotions started to set it. This suitcase wasn’t just a suitcase it was my suitcase… okay, so it was my dad’s and I borrowed it several years ago and never gave it back but that just added to the legacy of it. In a way it was like traveling with my dad all those years ago when we did so. Also, I’d been all across the country, and to Canada, with that suitcase. The associative memory system with this suitcase was strong.

To get into the suitcase we took a knife and cut into it. As the director put the knife into the suitcase it was as if I were watching a friend die. I know that sounds extreme, but for myself having an attachment to objects this wasn’t just a loss of a thing to pack clothes in, this was an event of losing my travel companion whom I’ve traveled to races and presentations and essentially grown into the person I am today. Last year I traveled with that bag 200 days of the year so the memories were strong.

Slowly the knife made its way around the suitcase and I was finally able to get to my clothes, but in the process the usability of the suitcase had become lost. Its journey was now over. A day later I went suitcase shopping for the first time in my life and I did buy the first thing that looked suitable which was a mistake because I should have bought the same brand and model of the one that was lost, but this didn’t happen.

Sunday morning, when we left the hotel room and the bag behind, I took a final photograph of it. If you don’t have this attachment to objects like I do you probably are reading this and maybe shaking your head with no understanding of what this suitcase meant to me. I had to take that photograph and it will be one I cherish for a long time because over the past four years that bag was with me from the start of my journey to where and who I am today. Sure, I’ll create new memories with this contraption which is called a suitcase that I bought, but it’ll take a long time to move on from the suitcase that was lost. Most people can discard inanimate objects without a second thought, but things mean more to me and when things are lost it isn’t just a minor event, it can be an event which brings a tear, or many tears, to my eyes.

1 comment:

  1. I've found that when it comes time to replace an object, especially one that's going to get a lot of use, impulse buying isn't usually the way to go. And, having owned a LOT of suitcases, I can tell you that they are definitely not all created equally. It pays to get one that will be able to handle the stress that frequent travel puts on it and you, sir, do a lot of travelling! If you're like me you also got very comfortable in how you packed that old suitcase, shoes here, shirts there and pants over here. Unless this bag has the exact same dimensions you'll have to find a new way to pack and that's a huge inconvenience for the frequent traveler. Well, anyway, sorry you had to lose an old friend in such an abrupt manor but I'm sure after a while you and your new suitcase will come to a mutual understanding. Hope your future travels are safe.

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