November 23, 2008

Two Parables of Travel

The plane was full and the overhead bins were all occupied, so folks had to check their carry-on bags. One woman carefully removed a plastic bag containing pottery bowl from her suitcase before it went into the baggage compartment. On the plane, she tucked it into the side of the bin over her seat. During the flight, another person opened the bin and the bowl came crashing down. We could all hear the sound of the pottery shattering. As we left the plane and she was leaving behind the broken bowl, she was telling me how careful she had been, all for nothing. And I said: Well, it's important not to travel with anything you're too attached to, isn't it.

We drag ourselves through endless airports, burdened with all the things that we must have with us at all times. People line up at check-in counters, weighing their stuff. Bags are opened and contents shifted to meet the requirements and avoid the extra fees: underwear and pajamas, medicine, shoes, computers, makeup, books and pillows. But I never see anyone giving the excess things away.

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