I remember someone once asking me, what’s your favourite thing about school?
Home time, came the reply. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the classroom, and looking back, it is almost a surprise the answer wasn’t more standard... English, maybe. Sports day, perhaps.
Fast forward 20 years, and things haven’t changed much. What’s my favourite thing about work? Turning on the ‘out of office’ message. That sigh of relief after ticking the little box, happy in the knowledge nobody can get me - by email at least - for the next few hours, days and weeks.
You’ve heard of living for the weekend. Well, yours truly lives for the week off. After a particularly manic few months, I was desperate to board a plane. Couldn’t wait to see old friends, take in a new city and spend time soaking up the sun.
Expectations were high. Too high, as it turned out. When it came to it, a few hiccups - a thunder storm or two here, a flat tyre there - threatened to put a dampener on my sunny disposition.
But I’d worked hard for this break, and I was determined to enjoy it. So on we went, ignoring the fact that everything that could go wrong seemingly would. Until the last day. Time to go home. And for possibly the first time, I wasn’t too sorry.
Waiting in the luggage hall, I just wanted to get my bags and leave. We’d look back and laugh, I told myself. Remember the good times and forget the bits in between.
Just need to pick up the suitcase.
Any minute now.
Anyone who has ever lost their luggage will know the sinking feeling when you realise your bag isn’t coming round the conveyor belt.
When everyone else has left, but you remain, staring at the one bright blue floral case that doesn’t belong to you. Someone eventually takes that monstrosity too, and you’re there alone. It’s something which happens to someone else.
But on this occasion, there was no computer malfunction. No mistake at one of the world’s busiest airports.
Just a careless hostess who failed to ensure my hand luggage - which I had kindly volunteered to remove from the overhead compartment to make space - found it’s way into the hold.
Five days later, and there’s still no sign. Lots of phone calls and letters of complaint. But no bag.
Quick. Get me back to the office.