Translation Not Found (vacation complications)

Translation Not Found

JFK was exquisitely cold and empty at 1 am on a random Thursday as we stepped off the plane into a baggage claim area that was bustling in spite of the hour. Thirty-five minutes of staring up at the baggage escalator had done nothing to produce our second bag, my bag. We both joked about how losing her bag would’ve been a disaster. Mine? No problem.

Still, we had another hour of fiddling with the JetBlue Central Baggage Services office. “This is going to be a shitshow,” I said, as we walked the length of the terminal to the short line of bagless folks looking to be rescued by the sleepy staff.

And sure enough, one tragedy after another wandered towards the office, asked a question of the security guard sitting behind a desk, and got in line behind us. Bags, unclaimed bags, were everywhere, packed behind the row of customer service desks, cordoned off in the hallway, and coming in on carts in huge piles, every few minutes. They slowly, sleepily, put all of the homeless bags into a large storage closet. Bags, untethered, by the hundreds, ending up in the dark locker, and locked down.

Where did all these bags come from? And where were their owners? And what’s the deal with the entire Eastern Indian family enclosed in their small fort of matching green bags? They seemed to have been there all day, like a feral pack of small animals.

I was inconvenienced. I was drowsy and unsympathetic. And at the same time, heartbroken. There was nothing I could do about the flood of incoming bags, as the agent said to me, “Your bag did not make the plane. Please fill out this form with your contact information.”

The big mystery and talk of the staff was the lone bag near carousel 5 that was leaking a blood-like fluid. Even the baggage guys coming in with mountains of bags, didn’t want to pick up the bag that would certainly require forms, inspections, and possibly feelings.

We were all ghosts at 2 am looking for our lost bags, true. Some of us were passing through. Some of us were lost. Some of us would be returning day after day to the same crisis. We never did figure out what the security woman was doing and why she seemed so miffed when she had to talk to anyone.

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