I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that most everyone has back-up underwear. I don't mean a spare set of underwear that is carried around on one's person in the event of a bladder malfunction. The underwear I'm referring to are those 3 or 4 pairs that you own but rarely wear. They are an unfortunate few that you didn't intentionally buy as back-ups, but over time eventually fell out of the rotation. It may be that they don't quite fit you right, or they make you feel fat, or they have a propensity towards wedgies, but for one reason or another they have slowly and surely worked their way to the back of the drawer to mingle with the Christmas socks. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I will have you know that I have spent the entire week wearing back-up underwear. As I type this, I can almost feel my readers squirming in empathetic discomfort. I appreciate the sentiment. Why, you may ask, would someone subject themselves to such a tortuous state of existence? Perhaps for one day, possibly two, when the laundry has gotten out of hand, a pair of back-ups will be worn. But an entire week? Allow me to explain.
We stepped off of the cruise ship in Vancouver last Saturday morning. Royal Carribean had an elaborate luggage system in place including color-coded tags, ours being Orange 11. We were instructed to attach the tags to our bags, place our luggage outside our stateroom doors, and Royal Caribbean would take over from there. You already know where this is going. The morning we were to depart, we were all sitting around waiting for our luggage color and number to be announced so we could proceed down the gangway. After several hours and a rainbow of other colors, Orange 11 was finally called. Matthew and I cheered audibly as onlookers smiled with a combination of amusement and envy, and we headed off to the bus that would take us to Seattle where we would catch our flight home. There were two buses, actually, both full of Seattle-bound cruisers, and as we boarded the buses we all shared the same concern. The luggage on the sidewalk by the bus was not Orange 11 luggage, but Orange 10. Not to worry, assured the cruise representatives. It's all part of the system. Your luggage will be on the other bus. So off we went on the 3 hour drive to Sea-Tac airport. The other bus had a head start on us and, upon arrival, we pulled up to see its passengers standing around with arms folder and brows furrowed, anxious to get into our luggage compartments. Understandable, we thought to ourselves. After all, we must have their luggage, and they must have ours. But neither of these statements proved to be true.
It was utter chaos for about 15 minutes. The only thing worse than a mob of angry people is a mob of angry rich people, and that is indeed what we were caught up in. Matthew and I, being neither rich nor angry, tried to be as understanding as possible with the terrified Royal Caribbean representatives. We filled out some paperwork and waited around for what we should do. After much yelling and phone calls it was announced that our luggage was still in Vancouver. To add insult to injury, due to some kind of protocol, they refused to send our luggage on a bus without passengers. The only option was to ship our luggage out to us the following Monday, giving it an ETA of 4 to 5 days. With renewed rage, the mink mob descended upon the RC reps once again, breathing out fiery threats and vows of retaliation. Matthew and I picked up our carry-ons and quietly slipped out of the fray and into the terminal, knowing that coming home to Phoenix we would not be much missing our sweat pants and overcoats.
I am, however, missing my underwear. I do the laundry every two days to keep the fragile cycle going. I suppose I could have just gone to Target and bought more, but throughout this underwear crisis my bench has really come up big. I don't think I'll be returning any of them to the starting line-up, but I have to hand it to them. They're getting the job done.