Monday, June 25, 2012

Grumpy With Travel Luggage

The Dreaded One and I are lucky enough to be heading overseas again. We dusted off our luggage recently and while she looked fondly upon her trusty steed, I instinctively lashed out and kicked the living shit out of mine, screaming hateful insults at it.

Grumpy – what are you doing?”

Sorry Dreaded One,” I panted from my exertions, wiping sweat and spittle from my face... and giving that son-of-a-bitch suitcase one last, heartfelt kick. “I think it's like when war vets have flashbacks. I just had a flashback.”

It's a suitcase. You put clothes in it to go travelling. How can you compare that to a war flashback?”

You weren't there,” I say as I massage the trauma from my forehead... attempt to massage the trauma from my... attempt to ease the trauma inside my head by massaging my forehead. “You didn't see the horror... the horror...”

You are not Marlon Brando and I was there. You just chose poorly, that's all.”

Her words become echoey and my world goes wavy like some b-grade special effect indicating a shift back in time... time... time...

It all started out pleasantly enough. After The Twisted Back Incident in Turkey, 2006 in which I had hoisted my back-pack onto my shoulders in such a swashbuckling manner and, well, twisted my spine into the source of the universe's most excruciating pain, I decided that I'd try one of those bags-on-wheels. Dragging, surely, must be less painful than hoisting-and-lugging.

My big mistake was in choosing a narrow wheel base model. Everything else about this bag was well made. Solid stitching. Handles made for heaving. Sturdy in every way.

Until you walked for more than 20 steps. Inside the shop when test driving, you could only go five steps. So you didn't get the death wobble effect that kicked in around 15 steps which got worse and worse until the bag keeled over on its side around the 20 step mark. On European streets. Every. Fucking. Time.

In Arles, Southern France, brief home of Van Gogh and his fleeting friend Gaugin. Two of the greatest artists of our times. In one year Van Gogh painted more than 300 paintings, such was the inspiration of this city with its ancient Roman ruins. But what is my burning image of this place? The combination of The Dreaded One's Nav Bitch sending us on a wild goose chase while my suitcase tipped over for the … oh I don't know... the squillionth time?

While bucolic French types with their baguettes tucked under their arm stopped to watch in Gallic bemusement, I lost it. I vented spleen. I raged. Seethingly, I bemoaned that we were not in America, because in God Bless America one of these bemused bystanders would at least be carrying a Smith & Goddamn mother fucking Wesson instead of a loaf of bread, and I could finally end this thing once and for all you Goddamn falling-over piece of shit luggage!

And it shames me to admit that as no Smith & Wesson was forthcoming, yes, I bludgeoned my luggage with a stolen baguette... baguette... baguette...

Echo and wobbly visuals and I was back in the here and now with The Dreaded One. Her with her expensive, well-chosen wheely bag with its wide wheel base and lack of death wobbles.

So you will choose wisely this time?” she asks as I come back from my journey into the past. Arles... it had been the last in a long string of similar events. She had paid good money upfront. Time and time again I had thought how can you go wrong with cheap stuff made in China? Only to be now regretting the small mountain of discarded shit luggage I had contributed to. Death wobbles. Crap handles that fall apart at the touch. Wheels that fall of if you so much as frown at them. Never will I buy luggage made in China again.

Yes,” I nod solemnly. “My back pack. Now there's some sturdy luggage.”

The one that wrecked your back in Turkey? Oh. Oh good.”

Grumpy is Lee Bemrose, freelance writer and luggage basher. If you want him to write something for you he might just put down the baguette and take up his keyboard. He's at


luggagedirect travel luggage said...

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Bright Precious said...

I believe your flashback was a valid one. And now I think I'll have a lasting mental image of you bashing your suitcase with a baguette. If Van Gogh was around he surely would have captured your angst in a painting.