I didn’t know the hold that my ‘things’ had on my life until they were stolen.

As I waited in the airport terminal, I watched the masses of people around me reaching out to the turnstile to yank their luggage off the conveyor belt. A sea of black and navy luggage with the occasional brightly colored one standing out among the usual colors, I waited patiently for mine to drop from the jaws of the Airport Luggage Monster.

Vegas Airport was a crowded place; it was my first visit there. My first and only visit, in fact. I was there for ten days on a work trip, attending a trade show. I ultimately packed more than was necessary, but being someone who’d been underprepared while traveling, I didn’t want to be in that position again.

Being a domestic flight, I didn’t think twice as I packed my tailored work clothing, my ‘going out’ outfits, gym clothes, and every accessory and shoe I could possibly need for a killer outfit. I made the mistake of not splitting up my things into more than one bag: Everything went into one large, black suitcase.

It eventually became apparent that my luggage would not be arriving that evening. I was a little upset to have to head to the hotel without my belongings but figured the luggage would arrive that evening.

By the second day, the airline called me after having reviewed their security footage. My luggage, and that of two other individuals, was swiped from the turnstile. The thief was waiting right where the luggage dropped and grabbed, what I can only imagine, were the most basic-looking suitcases. Well, it turned out there was a team of thieves at work here, but the result was the same regardless: I was not getting my things back.

From the police report:

Stolen items include:

  • Clothing
  • Belts
  • Glasses
  • Purses/wallets
  • Sterling silver jewelry
  • Prescriptions

It’s that last one: Prescriptions. This one was a punch in the gut.

I felt incredibly violated. The personal information contained on those bottles not only revealed who I was, but they also told the thieves my secrets. And now these thieves knew something about me that I wasn’t sharing with anyone up to that point (with the exception of my husband): That I needed fertility medication to get pregnant.

I spent night two of the Vegas trip at a mall, trying to create a makeshift wardrobe. I was missing my things. I knew they were just things — that they could be replaced. I kept reminding myself of this; but, I was pissed. My wardrobe, as shallow as it sounds, took me years to build. It had become part of my identity. I don’t like admitting that. When I think about it now, I wish it hadn’t upset me the way it did.

But it taught me a serious lesson: I needed to be me — without needing the fashion or the ‘things’.

I hope the theives enjoyed my belongings. I am sure many of them were sold on the internet (I tried to look some of the things up, but it was no use). And, who knows, maybe it got someone else pregnant who needed the help. (Doubtful, but trying to be somewhat optimistic here.)

More lessons:

Don’t pack all your good shit for one trip.

Split your clothing and other belongings into different bags, if possible.

Keep personal items (e.g. prescriptions) in your carry-on.

Take a toothbrush and spare underwear with you on your carry on — even if your luggage is just ‘lost’ and not stolen, you’ll at least feel clean for another day!

Writer of nonfiction & narrative. Lover of language and creative endeavors. Mother of twins. See more at relationship-development.com.

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