Apology to a Suitcase

Detail of the Seattle gingerbread village: underground Seattle complete with stuck tunnel machine and money going into the tunnel. 204 holiday Season, Seattle.
Gingerbread view of Big Bertha-Money going down the drain.

After reading the paper this morning I was filled with remorse. On my last trip to China I called you Big Bertha, after the boring machine (tunnel boring not tedious boring). The paper had an article about Big Bertha. They think it will finally start work again after 2 years of repairs. It was wrong to call you after that machine.

You have never stopped working. You have traveled tens of thousands of miles loaded to the max and all your wheels still roll (one does stick a bit and have to be adjusted now and then). In spite of being dragged around and dropped in some fairly dusty and dirty circumstances you look great, a few wet wipes and vacuuming and you look just like you did when you came out of the box back in 2008. To compare you with an expensive machine that traveled only a thousand feet before needing extensive, and expensive, repairs is wrong.

My excuse is that I like to travel light and you weigh eleven pounds empty. I have never taken a trip with you where you were not pushing up against the airlines’ weight limit of 50 lb. As much as I can lift, and probably more than I should lift, in the awkward ways one lifts suitcases in and out of buses and trains, bending and twisting at funny angles.

Your heavy weight was because you were full of things for people. Books for an elementary school library in rural Kenya, gifts for friends and family. I rarely take you when I travel, only when I have lots to take, yet you have been to New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Kenya (3 times) and China (2 times). You always got where you were going and held up in situations where a lesser, lighter, piece of luggage might have buckled under the load or lost a wheel. Heck, between trips you worked as storage for off season clothing.

Now you sit in my son’s room in China, acting as a wardrobe, probably soon to be reloaded for a return trip to the states. Full of souvenirs and gifts for family and friends…and the love they symbolize. But what should I call you now?

Bixi at Dai Miao in Tai'an.
Bixi at Dai Miao in Tai’an.

Maybe “bixi” (pronounced “bee shee”, give or take, as the “sh” isn’t quite equal to ours) after the stone tortoises that carry the heavy steles on their backs. The steles commemorate important events.

Side note: since the spell checker didn’t like Stele I double checked it and, in addition to being correct, learned that it is the source of the word stellar.

Ripped from the Headlines!


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