A full two weeks after it went missing, my suitcase has been returned to me and I have been reunited with my dirty washing.
I have no idea where the case went in the meantime, although at one point I was told that they were looking for it “in eight different airports”. I think it must have gone a long way away, though, as the baggage tag labelled “RUSH” is dated the 7th of December and today is the 15th.
When it first went missing, I started to compile a list of the contents in a spreadsheet in case I needed to claim for them. When I’d reached some hundred items, I began to wonder whether it was all so densely packed that it had caused a singularity in the space time continuum and the case had imploded under its own gravitational pull like a black hole. It was, after all, only a small case.
Trying to get any sense out of Madrid airport during the state of emergency was impossible, so in an attempt to chivvy things along, I ended up speaking to a helpful young man in Luton around ten days ago. He asked me for any identifying features of the bag and contents. Later on, I looked on the website mylostbag.com and saw what he had written down. It wasn’t quite what I’d said.
To begin with, the copy of 101 Sonnets that was in the inside pocket had been re-titled 101 Sonics. What did he think the book was about? Hedgehogs? Or was he just reminding me how important a poetic tool sound can be?
Then there were the ‘brand new uncle boots.’ Hmm… ‘uncle boots’ doesn’t sound like a fashion I want to know more about. They sound like a cross between Ugg boots and something Uncle Ernie would wear to fiddle about in. I deny owning anything of the sort.
The young man in Luton (whose mother tongue was clearly not English) did manage to write down that there was some chocolate in the case. In fact I think I told him ‘confectionary’ as it was a better catch-all term, but ‘chocolate’ was probably simpler.
I went through the case when I got it back to see that the contents were as they should be. Clearly at some time during its absence someone had taken everything out and then forced it all back in as best they could. Well, most of it had been put back. There were all the extension cords, cables and connectors for phones and cameras etc., and all the clothes, too. (Also two garments I’d forgotten to list, but I think I did a very good job of remembering what I had with me.) There was even a purse with some cash in it, all present and correct.
The teabags were there; and the jar of marmite, too. In fact, the only things I have identified as missing are two bars of chocolate and some bombay mix. Which strikes me as slightly surreal.