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ANNE RAWLEY SALDICH, Ph.D.
Anne Rawley Saldich, Ph.D., MFT
It was a sudden storm, dark and mean. Rain pelted so hard the drops jumped off my jacket and back to the sky before banging down on the pavement. I had no umbrella. I yanked up my collar and waited, next in line for curb side check-in at the San Francisco airport. Dawn was breaking but it would bring no sun to this day. I was sleepy, in my own thoughts: Terrible time for a flight.
Over the noise of incoming and outbound planes, the fierce rain and a wind that must have been blowing at gale force, I could hear the huge man in front of me shouting at the skycap:
"Old man, the reason you're still lugging bags is because you're slow, you're stupid, and you don't listen. How many times do I have to tell you: This goes to the hold but that is a carry-on?"
"Sir, that bag can't be carried on. It won't fit under the seat or in the bulkhead. Airline regulations say I've got to tag it."
The mammoth threw back his shoulders.
"I'll tell you again, real slow, so even you can understand. This is a carry-on! I am going carry it onto the plane because I need it while I work on a long flight to London. Have you got that? If you put it into the hold I won't be able to work!"
"Sorry, Sir, but that bag is three inches longer and two inches higher than carry-ons. I could lose my job ..."
"You sure as hell will lose your job if I miss my flight! Do you know who I am?"
Though I couldn't hear who the passenger was, the skycap seemed impressed and Mr. High-and-Mighty took off, cashmere coat tails flying, Italian black leather shoes racing towards the airport doors. His elegant briefcase was clutched in one hand; the much-argued-about suitcase in his other. His body language roared both fury and triumph.
As I stepped up to the skycap I complimented him on keeping his temper. He was, indeed, an old man and it was embarrassing to witness the browbeating he got.
"Oh, it's nothin'. Nothin' at all. He's a VIP, full of worries and short on time. Ummmmmm, yas. A man to be reckoned with."
The skycap was bent over, tagging my bags as he spoke. Then he paused, raised his body slowly, with dignity, until he was looking me full in the face. His smile could light up the sky. His eyelids blinked a few times, relishing a vision.
"Ummmm, yas. A VIP goin' to London. But," with a wink at me, "his luggage is going to Argentina."
"Yup! I did. I sure did. Ummmmm, yas."
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