…doesn’t always look like it. In fact, sometimes it looks like the universe is giving you the finger.
Earlier this year, I traveled to southeast Asia with one of my best college girlfriends. We’re perfect travel buddies – we have similar expectations and desires for how to spend our travel time, the way in which we approach adventure, our love for trying new things and foods, and of course we have an awesome time no matter what we’re doing.
On the way home from our beautiful adventure, we had a bit of a tight schedule. Our journey home started with a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong, where we would have only an hour between flights to get on our flight to LA, by way of immigration. Yikes. I live in LA, but my friend lives in Pittsburg, so once we got into LA, she turned around and got on another flight to Pittsburg (which ALSO included a stop in between). She had purposely left her laptop at my house, which she would pick up between flights once we got back to LA so she didn’t have to carry it around SE Asia.
Knowing all this, we had been careful to have only 2 carry-ons: one luggage (average size) and a backpack. We hadn’t checked luggage at all on the trip, and hadn’t bought so many souvenirs that we suddenly needed more luggage. We were in great shape. Leading up to our departure, we put out into the universe what we wanted: an easy trip home, on-time flights that would allow us to get back to my place for my friend to get her stuff, and a smooth ride home the rest of the way for her.
Well. Insert Universe Finger here.
When we got to the airline counter to check in, they drably informed us that our bags could only be 12 pounds for carry-on luggage (???) and ours were each several pounds over. Now, keep in mind this is the same airline that brought us to Asia originally and this was not an issue. We politely asked them to reconsider and laid out our best arguments: this hadn’t been an issue on the way here (with the exact same airline), we outlined our tight connection, the little time between landing in LA and my friend’s next flight (where waiting for checked luggage could throw everything off), all to no avail. We got stonewalled.
We grumpily resigned ourselves to turning our fate to the universe, and asked that they put “Priority” tags on our luggage so that hopefully they would come out the shoot first. Off we went with heavy steps that dreaded the possible disastrous outcomes we were so careful to avoid.
Let me fast-forward and tell you this: we got back to my home in time to put our stuff down, relax for a half hour, and get In-n-Out on the way to dropping my friend back off at the airport. And in reflection, the Universe granted us even more than what we envisioned when we set out in the morning, hoping things went without a hitch:
At our short layover, we had to RUN from one gate, go through customs/immigration/whatever it was, and RUN to our next gate. That’s how little time there was. And if we’d had those bigger suitcases, there’s no way we could have run.
When we arrived at LAX, we both had Global Re-Entry and were able to get back in by breezing through the immigration (non) line, and our bags were among the first 20 bags out on the carousel. The Universe, in fact, was QUITE on our side.
On reflection, I realized this: I wasted energy and good juju being annoyed and peeved at the airline employees (who of course were just following the rules and doing their job) and sulking while I thought of the impending doom (which of course never happened) that would prevent us from getting home easily. When, in fact, we had an even easier time getting home than we might have if what we wanted to happen had actually happened the way we expected it to happen.
Well played, Universe, well played.