Humiliation is a Part of Us All

Delta had just absorbed Northwest and I didn't know which gate to check in at when I was returning home from D.C. a couple of summers ago, so I went to Delta. The desk clerks looked at me like I was nuts and said something like, "No, we ain't gotchew here." But then a woman typy-typed for a half minute or so and said, "Well, I guess we do." Since my carry-on looked a lot like my to-be-checked wheely-case, I let them grab my carry-on (for a fifteen buck baggage fee) and dashed toward security check for the Delta terminal.  

When I finally got to the guy who checked my ticket, he said, "You're in the wrong terminal, buddy. Northwest is about a half-mile that way." So I ran and ran, my little wrong wheely-case bouncing behind me. When I got to the Northwest terminal security check with a smidgen of time to catch my flight, they jerked my wrong wheely-case off of the belt because my white-noise sleep machine looked like something funny in the X-ray; then they started rummaging through my wrong stuff.

As I get older, when I travel I get horribly constipated, so, in my wrong wheely-case was a big blue enema bulb that was folded up in some underwear. When the security guy lifted the underwear, the enema bulb went flying out onto the terminal floor where I chased it down in front of all of the other passengers waiting in line. Enema bulbs don't roll in a straight line. They sort of bounce then roll in a tight little circle, a motion guaranteed to draw the interest of anyone in the proximity. The security guy's faced turned red, but he didn't say anything when I stuffed the enema bulb back into my wheely-case in front of an amused audience.

I barely made my flight to Bozeman, and when I arrived late that night, my unintentionally checked carry-on wasn't on the plane. I filled out all of the proper forms for lost luggage and assumed that Delta would bring it to my house, which is eight miles from the airport.

They never did.  

I went to their on-line site, filled out all the proper forms for lost items, including a $600 camera. A couple of weeks later a woman called and asked me if I had received my luggage yet. I said, "No, but...." and she hung up on me. After another month my wife finally got someone from Delta's baggage complaints division on the phone. She said she wasn't authorized to give her name but said I should fill out all of the forms again and fax them to a specific number. So I did. Three times.

Two years later, I've never heard back from anyone at Delta. But hey, they don't take responsibility for cameras anyway, and, well, humiliation is a part of us all.


Greg Keeler is Professor of English at Montana State University-Bozeman, and the author of the memoir Trash Fish as well as many other books of poetry and nonfiction. 

Categories: Airports, Security, Features

Latest Stories
Checking In/Checking Out

Filter by Category

Everyone has a story to tell...

Submit Yours Here

Points of Departure: