I travel so much I’ve set myself up as a sort of travel guru. I used to like to interrupt overheard conversations and give people tips on getting around various airports, or to stand in the security lines and make fun of people as they make obvious, terrible mistakes that delay their trip to the gates. I once witnessed an irate man arguing that his collection of hunting knives were not an issue and should be allowed through in his carry-on luggage. That was a banner day.
Of course, whenever I start to feel smug these days I glance down at the clear laptop bag I now carry. Back in Roman times when the Emperors used to have a slave sit behind them to whisper that he was still mortal. This clear laptop bag is doing that for me.
I used to have a standard black laptop bag for my precious computer. I do everything on the laptop, so I carry it everywhere. My last trip I got to the airport incredibly late, and was racing through the airport using every bit of my experience. I was vaulting over railings, taking hidden short cuts, and calculating angles and shortest distances on the fly like some sort of Terminator. At security I raced through my usual routine – shoes off, pockets empty, belt in a bin – and was in such a hurry I actually ran in my socks from security to the gate. I made it to the plane without a second to spare.
I put my laptop bag in my lap … and discovered it was empty. I’d placed the laptop in a bin, as instructed, and then I’d grabbed the bag and left the actual computer.
Getting off the plane was significantly more difficult than getting on, but I managed it. Still in my socks, shoes in hand, I raced back to the security check, where a smiling TSA employee was waiting for me with it. I thanked him profusely and made a slightly less-energetic run back to the gate, just in time to actually see the plane pulling away from the gate. Sweaty and exhausted, I limped over to the desk agent to humbly request the next available flight.
Now, I look at my laptop bag and I can see at a glance whether I have it or not. I’ll never leave it behind anywhere ever again, because the second I see the bag I’ll know whether I have it or not. It’s sturdy, easy to clean (water resistant, it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth) and has a lot of neat pockets to store USB sticks and pens and secret candy. Most importantly, I can always reassure myself that I have my laptop. Everything else – my shoes, my pants, all of my other luggage – I can survive without. Without my laptop my business stops dead, and so the clear bag was an absolute necessity.