Friday, January 13, 2012

Baggage claim.......

I've got some.

You've got some, too.

Everybody has a bit to lug around.

And if they say they don't, they're deluded.

But my personal favorite is people who expect you to deny your own.

What the heck am I talking about, you ask?  I'm talking about the baggage we all have.

You know....that baggage that you're lugging along behind you, some of the contents spilling out all over the sidewalk as you desperately try to ignore them. The suitcase that has gaudy stickers all over it with the names of all the places...well, actually, people.......who have wandered in and out of your life, creating messes that you've had to clean up or run away from. You've tried to peel those darn things off the trunk with your fingertips, but no such luck. Little corners tear off here and there, but the glue sticks to your fingers anyway, leaving the residue behind. And the rest of those stickers just stay stuck anyway, refusing to be removed and insisting on remaining part of your life no matter how hard you try to ignore them. We just can't seem to get rid of the mess.

I met a man at a Japanese restaurant for lunch a number of years ago. It was our first meeting, the one where you size each other up, trying to envision if there is any future for the two of you. Usually not, but we are eternal optimists, aren't we? We ate funny looking food, we shared information about ourselves, he kept aligning his napkin perfectly with the edge of his knife. (I should have known right then.) Finally, he looked at me and said, "I'm not looking for anyone who has any baggage."  I smiled as I lied and assured him that I had no such thing, my luggage was safely stowed away at home, behaving itself. I mean, what did he expect me to say to that, anyway?

In reality, as all sane people know, those bags hold our lives, both the good stuff and the bad. We can't deny that, or expect others to deny theirs.

And by the way.....that man turned out to have a steamer trunk of his own, filled with enough neurosis to sink the Titanic. My advice to younger women is this: If he asks you if you have baggage, stand up tall, say, "Of course! And it's made me the woman I am today!" and then RUN.

No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car. 
August Strindberg


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