Yes, I am wearing clean underwear.
I sought internet access today just to make that announcement. I know that's too much information for some of my readers, but at least one person reading my blog (that is, my mother) has been wondering about those lost suitcases.
You'd think, since my luggage was lost the last time I was traveled, I would be prepared for such a situation, and that I would have thought carefully about what I put in my carry-on bag. But the reality is that when my husband and I sat down to look at what we had with us after getting off the plane, we came up with an impressive amount of technology (his cell phone, my laptop, my digital camera, plus cords and chargers), some books and journals and writing utensils, and several plastic bags of food, but not a single item of clothing, unless you count the mittens shoved in the bottom of my bag, which would no doubt come in very handy when hiking in the southwest desert.
Once we had filled out the forms in the airport and climbed into the rental car, I gave the suitcases up as lost, with the idea that we'd get them back eventually in Snowstorm City. I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a fleece, and light hiking boots, and I figured that I could make the outfit last all week. But my husband saw the lost suitcases as a challenge.
Throughout the day, while we were driving southwest, he made phone calls to a series of incompetent airline employees, who all kept contradicting each other. One person would say, "Oh, the bags are still in Midwestern City," and another person would say, in a deeply sincere tone, "The bags are definitely on the 4:20 flight to Sky High City," and then another person would say, "My records show the bags are still in Snowstorm City." They all claimed to be getting this information from a computer screen.
My husband, who has way more patience than I do, just kept calling airports and saying in a calm voice, "I need to talk to someone who is actually looking at our suitcases." Near the end of the day, he talked to a young woman who verified that the suitcases had finally arrived in Sky High City. She had actually seen them and tagged them. This would have been happy news if we were still in Sky High City, but we had been driving for a good part of the day, and that meant we were hundreds of miles away from the suitcases.
By then my husband was on a first-name basis with several of the employees of the airline; they had come to see him in charge of the situation, since clearly no one else was, and were pretty much doing whatever he told them. "Just put the bags on the 6:40 flight to Little Airport in the Middle of Nowhere," I heard him say. He was still using the same calm, rational tone he'd used on the first twenty phone calls, while simultaneously driving the rental car at the edge of a cliff that had no guard rails whatsoever.
The next morning, just after dawn, we pulled up to Little Airport in the Middle of Nowhere, and my husband returned moments later, triumphantly, with our suitcases. How extravagant it seemed to have clean shirts, clean underwear, and clean socks. We could use toothbrushes again — and hairbrushes. Our lives seemed suddenly luxurious.