I just dropped my bags at my hotel in Miami.
By bags, I mean a backpack filled to the hilt with the heaviest things I could find in my apartment hanging off one shoulder, an electric guitar hanging off the other, one acoustic guitar (made of metal) in a bulky case, and the other bulky guitar (made of bricks) draped awkwardly over my suitcase which in turn includes just enough underpants, a pair of newly purchased shorts, just enough t-shirts, a token flannel (I mean, I am in Miami, then on to Jamaica?!), and my sponge bag with toothbrush and deodorant (I hope). The rest of the suitcase is filled with CD's for the merch table on this cruise. Priorities. I may end up looking and smelling like a victim of a poorly organised music festival in 1971 by the end of the week, but hey - at least people can buy an assortment of musical frisbees from me.
My reason for hopping on the blog machine here wasn't to complain about how much shit I did or didn't bring with me, more to complain about how strangers interact with someone who is obviously carrying too much shit in a crowded place, such as an airport. It may seem foreign to many modern travelers, but sometimes you have to move larger items with you from one place to another.
When traveling light and observing others undertaking the sweaty, frustrating task of maneuvering an overpriced, precariously overpacked luggage trolley with one broken fucking wheel with one hand, and carrying a poorly designed un-stackable convex guitar case with the other, I automatically give them a wide berth, perhaps even let them ahead of me. If something falls off (BOUND to happen), I may even run to help them at an alarming speed, so as to unwittingly make them feel like I am about to steal their unwieldy belongings right at their time of crisis, with a smile that is meant to say "LET ME HELP", but in fact comes across as "I MIGHT STAB YOU AS WELL AS STEAL THIS".
Not once have I ever stood behind them waiting for a lift, and then BARGED in front when it arrives to ensure my place. I swear I saw it coming. I felt his pink and grey argyle sweater draped over his neck and fake tan burning a hole in the back of my head with fully charged self-importance lasers. One of the other folks waiting for the lift even piped up, offering a "how rude!' to the man on my behalf, AND THEN PROCEEDED TO GET IN THE LIFT, THUS FILLING IT UP AND ADDING TO THE PREDICAMENT. I thanked the man loudly, while leaning into the crowded (yet mostly smiling and amused) lift, before pressing the button again, muttering something to the effect that he must be a fucking surgeon off to an emergency dickhead transplant or something. Whatever. Sounded better at the time.
Finally got down the one level needed to access the hotel shuttles. Took my bags off the trolley outside the correct and corresponding stop, well and truly frazzled and irritated. Surely this is the end. Nope. Immediately I did the most British thing possible:
Man: “Sir, are you using this cart?”
Me: “Hi! Sorry, no. Please, all yours.”
Why the fuck I led with an apology I’ll never know. Tends to be my default. Anyway.
Cue hotel shuttle that comes roaring up to the curb, and then keeps driving before screeching to a halt 150 feet away from where I am standing, trolley-less, bewildered and dazed and entirely too warm. This is going to take two trips, and faith that the airport system gives you sixteen and a half seconds to claim an unsupervised bag before a SWAT team swoops down on ropes from a helicopter and blows up my underpants.
I made it on the bus. Sat down, all bags accounted for, when a lovely gentleman to my right says “Blues Alive At Sea Cruise?” I looked at him and said:
“uh, oh yes. YES. I AM. GOD. YES. THANK YOU. THAT IS WHAT I AM DOING HERE”. I was totally unaware at this point in my journey as to what in the actual fuck I’d left the house for this morning. Normally its milk. It was a bonus to re-discover something more exciting was afoot.
“And who are you playing with?”
“um, Davy Knowles.”
“AH! Fantastic, I said to my wife here, that looks like Davy!” His wife nodded in agreement. I had no idea how I looked right now, aside from possibly deranged.
This man during the short trip to our hotel had assessed the ridiculous state in which I had entered the courtesy shuttle, and as we pulled up to the Marriott, quietly and politely said:
“How about I grab this guitar for you, I have a spare hand.”
My dear man, I didn't get your name, but you have NO idea what that meant to me.