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The thing I always wonder is that if the owner of the suitcase, maybe a businessman or a woman with a very expensive weave and glowing skin, or a wealthy chap who just inherited his dad’s wealth and is travelling the world, or an old man who
worked his hands to the bone all his life and now has some pension and savings to travel the world to see the things he dreamt of while he slaved for tens of years in a windowless cubicle… What if one of these guys came to you and said, “Listen,
you like my luggage? Have it, but give me yours.”
There was a time when if you wanted to get a mirror image of life, all you had to do was to look at art. Then came a time when art stopped mirroring life. It broke away and travelled to places where life had not been. It became too futuristic. Overly ambitious. So now if you want to see a mirror image of life, you’ll have to go stand at the luggage carousel at the airport. As you stand there watching bags and suitcases of all kinds orbit by, waiting for yours to come out, you will see life in the green
and red suitcases, the big duffel bags that can carry a pony, the strapped bags, the knapsacks, the beat-up ones that look like they have travelled through space, the sad bags, the shiny ones, the ones with many stickers, the new ones, the hard-backed ones
and all other sorts.
Doesn’t looking at all these strange luggage reminds me you of life? How the rotation represents time and years that pass by us, swiftly. How you blink and you see a bag you just saw pass by and you are like, “Did I not just see that bag go by?” How all
those different bags and suitcases represent our own projected dreams and desires. How when you see a beautiful bag that looks new, expensive and swanky, you sometimes wish it was yours. How you build a profile of its owner as a privileged or lucky, or
happy or wealthy person – a shallow assessment based on mere aesthetics. And you perhaps tell yourself that next time you are shopping for a new suitcase you will get yourself a suitcase just like that to complete your life because we all try to fill our lives
with all these worldly things hoping that they will complete us; make us whole again.
The thing I always wonder is that if the owner of the suitcase, maybe a businessman or a woman with a very expensive weave and glowing skin, or a wealthy chap who just inherited his dad’s wealth and is travelling the world, or an old man who worked his
hands to the bone all his life and now has some pension and savings to travel the world to see the things he dreamt of while he slaved for tens of years in a windowless cubicle… What if one of these guys came to you and said, “Listen, you like my luggage? Have it, but give me yours.”
What if you take his luggage home where you place it on the bed and unlock it and out tumbles out this stranger’s life: lost dreams, failed relationships, pain, insecurities, illness, loneliness, all these packaged with a nice ribbon on the outside, but coming out now to belong to you? Would you wish you had just kept your own luggage?
One thing I know is that we all treat our lives like luggage. We house all our broken bits in swanky suitcases when we go out into the world and people look at our suitcases and imagine that the outside represents what’s in the inside.
Rarely does it. And so we are never satisfied with our own suitcases no matter how practical and how well they have served us. We fail to appreciate what we have. We always stand at the carousel and focus on suitcases that look better than ours.
As unpredictable as life often is, sometimes your suitcase never comes through the carousel. You stand there and wait for it to come out as the rest pick theirs and leave, but yours never comes out. You wait and wait until only three lonely bags are left on
the carousel, spinning round and round. You wait there until it’s only you at that carousel, waiting for delayed dreams, dreams that didn’t come out when you expected them to come out, as you watched others come and pick what you imagine to be their
dreams. And you curse. You curse God. You ask him, “Why me, God? Why can’t you hand me what I want now?” You have things in that suitcase that you need! How will you survive without them?
So you go to the Baggage Claim Desk, with a chip on your shoulders and you demand to know what the hell happened to your luggage. The attendant checks the system and tracks it and asks you to fill a form and promises to send it to your hotel or home
address. All this time your luggage isn’t really lost, it’s just been misplaced. A dream delayed. It probably got on the wrong plane and is headed to Tokyo but it will come; it more often than not always comes to you. However, all the while you are moaning
and bitching about your underwear and lotions and colognes and pants and the inconveniences caused by not having your suit for that event you are to attend that evening. But guess what? You realise that you can live without those things left in your
luggage. You will go to the evening event, you will get other lotions and underwear, you will not crumble and die. You will live. Until your dreams find you.
Not to sound like one of those self-improvement types, but sometimes we think we want things that will complete our lives when we don’t. That we can’t use a different roll-on from the one left in our luggage.
We refuse to appreciate the beauty of our own luggage, it takes an airline sending it to a different continent for us to appreciate it. Our luggage will always come when it comes. Until then we wait. Waiting never killed anyone.
Happy New Year to you and your suitcases. Have a reflective year, won’t you?