Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Handle With Care

U Is For Underground (But Not For Overweight)

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


I'm very fond of my mother-in-law, but over the years, I've had a lot of fun at her expense, on the basis of this story. Back in 1984 I was based in London for about six weeks, covering Wimbledon and a Test cricket series. And guess who else was in London for a few days? Yep, it was my m-i-l.

You think you can shop? She'd leave you for dead. She enjoyed herself in London, checking out every inch of the city with her friends and relatives. Just before she flew out of London, she asked me to help her pack.

I was incredulous. Help you pack?

Something was not quite right here. I should have been instantly suspicious. But I think when I was born, someone disconnected the be-wary-of-traps circuitry in my brain - or what passes for a brain.

Turned out she had packed all right. But the suitcase wouldn't close. It held twice what a normal suitacse was designed to hold. To cut a long story short, I repacked the suitcase and actually managed to wrangle it shut. Mate, it would have been easier to wrestle a mountain lion than it was to lock that suitcase.

Next, it had to be carried down a narrow flight of stairs. If anyone had viedotaped the footage of me carrying that suitcase down the stairs and trying not to fall on my butt, it would have been an international hit. By the time I got it downstairs, I was gasping for breath, I had broken out in a sweat and my pulse had dropped to near-ER levels.

"Does it weigh more than 20 kilograms?'' she asked.

I snorted. It was probably double the allowable weight limit for airlines. So we weighed it. It was 42 kilograms. That's about 90 pounds. Huh, you try carrying that down a narrow staircase.

Then the penny dropped. I had to escort my m-i-l (well Mrs Authorblog and I were not yet married, so officially she wasn't yet my m-i-l) to Heathrow Airport. Let me paint the picture for you. We were in South Wimbledon at the time, and Heathrow was on the other side of the city.

And before you ask, no, the suitcase didn't have wheels. So I carried it to the nearest Tube station and by the time we got there, I was grey, had heart palpitations and my blood pressure was dropping. We had to change trains three times. And each time I had to carry the darn suitcase down the platform, up a flight of stairs and across another platform to catch a train on a different line.

But the m-i-l was striding ahead, whistling airily and turning around every so often to say: ``Why are you lagging?'' or words to that effect. Thank goodness Londoners are a discreet lot, or they would have called an ambulance for me, plucked me from the London Underground and tucked me up in intensive care, with an IV line in each arm.

So we arrived at Heathrow, one of us distinctly the worse for wear. And guess what? The flight was full. But the airline could offer her a seat the next day. My m-i-l was delighted. She clapped her hands in glee, proclaiming: ``One more day to shop''.
I don't remember what happened next. I think I must have passed out.

Logically, I knew I would not survive taking that suitcase back to South Wimbledon and then returning to Heathrow with it the next day. I was on the verge of an apoplectic fit.

Then I remembered that the airport had a left luggage office. So we went there, gratefully handed over our money and I watched as the strapping individual behind the counter tried lifting the suitcase. I would have gladly paid a king's ransom to have him take charge of it.

"Wotcha got in here, guv? Bricks?" was all he could say, panting.

Then I explained how I had carried it down the length and breadth of two London streets and four Tube stations.

"Really?" he asked. "I think the Queen should knight you for that."

Knight me? Naaaaah. But maybe Her Majesty could send the footmen round the next time, for the suitcase. And perhaps a St Bernard rescue dog, for me.


37 comments:

Cowgirl said...

Pssst! David! Two words - Black Cab!!!!

But, seriously mate, you did GOOD!!

Ananda Niyogi said...

"Wotcha got in here, guv? Bricks?"..

LOL...superbbbbbb post David - one of very best that I have seen from you..

I am sure she would have been proud to have such a (heavy) dutiful son-in-law like you!

eric1313 said...

Very funny indeed.

God bless those in-laws. Where would comedy be without them?

Cuckoo said...

I second Ananda's views here. One of your best ones !!

What a son-in-law she has !! Lolll

Were you chosen by her or Mrs Authorblog for this post ? :P

Merisi said...

Fortitude ("Strength of mind that allows one to endure pain or adversity with courage"), thy name is David McMahon! Respect. :-)

I can feel your pain, having transported two overweight suitcases and a carry-on from the Fumicino Airport to downtown Rome on day when the cab drivers striked: 1 train, 2 subways, no working elevators!
The longest stretch was the cobble stone road to my apartment: Have you ever tried to pull three suitcases at once? My legs were hurting from battling with those monsters, not talking about my back. My arms stretched almost to the floor by the time I arrived.

dot said...

David, enjoyed this funny post very much!

mrsnesbitt said...

LOL David!
Enjoyed this.

RuneE said...

Great story - close to winner of the day!

lynn said...

LOL very funny indeed. Hi Mother-in-law (curtsy, sweet smile).

Course, being a woman myself, i am naturally wondering, having left her luggage behind and an extra day to fill, what on earth did she do for a change of clothes? Heavens, such a dilemma might give me the vapours. And accessories, well! Ah, i see,.... she just bought some more. Yes. Simple.

Next time, she should take 2 suitcases; one empty. It works!

Melissa said...

Funny story David, you were a true gentlemen carrying her suitcase around all that time!

You've been to Wimbledon? I love tennis and have always enjoyed watching it played at Wimbledon.

Patty said...

What a funny story, after I read it, I then read it to Abe. We both enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful son-in-law she has. Would you still do that?

Ackworth Born said...

lovely story - I've struggeled with suitcases before now but never quite that badly.

Kate Isis said...

You really should script write that story, its hillarious.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

That reminds of the time I went to pick my Mom, sister, and sister in law at the airport, they had 9 suitcases between them (also loaded with bricks). I almost had to go back to pick up a couple of them. Lucky I was able to tie a couple to the roof.

Have a Great Wednesday.

lime said...

hahaha, reminds me of one of my own bags when i returend from trinidad after a short trip. i'd buy local condiments, bolts of cloth and that particular trip i also bought a large iron cooking pot. my bag was definitely hernia inducing but at least i lugged it myself.

Jim Baker said...

oh man... i despise heathrow airport...

and paying extra money for extra bagage/weight

::shakes head::

i'm glad you didn't break your back... i guess the MIL gave you the blessing to marry her daughter after she noticed what a helpful gentleman you were huh? :)

jim baker

hpy said...

It's much more easy totravel without any luggage ;)

Desert Songbird said...

I trust your wife is not consumed with the same consumer lust, right?

kml said...

Thanks for the chuckle!

The Oswegan said...

That's a funny story.

Cheers,

~Oswegan

pat houseworth said...

Maybe if I had taken that "Heavy Bend Your Knees" advice earlier in life....my back would not be in the condition it is these days....O' Well.....

Good Posting Dave........

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Oh my. I takes it this was the first and last time you did this? I certainly hope so. I'm glad you still like her. Excellent post. Have a great day. :)

Colleen said...

Oh my goodness David! This is awesome and hilarious. Love it!

Lilli & Nevada said...

That is funny, your a good son in law

Neva said...

you should write a book ..you are sooo funny...oh but wait...aren't you writing a book? very cute post....I love the black cab comment!

holly said...

very funny post, david. :)

days like that? glad i'm a girl. my in-laws carried stuff for *me*!

Corey~living and loving said...

tee hee...this my be my most favorite post of your ever David. It had me giggling and smiling the whole way. I am not happy it almost killed you, but the way you told it...so amusing.

Craver Vii said...

It's absolutely hilarious how you "made light" of this situation. A thoroughly enjoyable read, Sir.

Misty Dawn said...

I'm not laughing at you David, I'm laughing with you. You truly told this story in a wonderfully hilarious manner! I'm so thankful you survived this ordeal ;-)

Divalicious said...

I swear, I thought you'd snapped a picture of my mama's suitcase from our return trip from Europe in October. She DID leave me for dead while she shopped.

Excellent story!

Anonymous said...

Fie on you David!!! Just kidding!

Being an m-i-l myself, I understand a leetle bit of this, but having travelled back and forth to Boston 12 times in the last 3 years to visit my grandbaby while my daughter was in law school, I have had to, sometimes, without the S-I-L, heave my suitcase UP three flights of stairs - you know, those cute walk-ups they rent to students in Cambridge, Mass. for a thousand pounds sterling...

Still, I could have used an s-i-l like you on occasion! I am sure your m-i-l loves you forever! Fortunately, my dear daughter was almost always there to pick me up at the airport, and never allowed me to carry my case, which, sometimes, did weigh a little bit, by the time I had stuffed it with fun things for my granddaughter!

But never 90 lbs, except the time Neil persuaded me to take an extra case (hardsided Samsonite) with a computer tower in it for the s-i-l to fix and/or keep. I said I was not bringing it back, and needless to say, Neil threw his back out, bigtime, when he hauled it in and out of the car at the start of the journey! I had some wonderfully gallant gentlemen help me get it on the scale at both ends of the trip (I took a shuttle to Seattle so Neil was spared - but it WAS his idea! I never forgave him, he was off his feed for six months and guess who was Mr. Mom this time!)

Speaking of overweight luggage...

Carol McFarlane

Peter M said...

Got to love the old MIL stories. By the way have posted a photo on ebay you maybe interested in. maybe you can shed some light on it.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=160190201666&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT&ih=006

I have put it on at quite a high price I think but it was a cheap listing day, so lets see what happens

Peter M said...

Sorry ebay link was incorrect

Try This http://search.ebay.co.uk/_W0QQsassZphotoman2000uk

katherine. said...

I want a son-in-law like you....

Kerri said...

Hilarious! You are a mother-in-law's dream come true!

I have often gone on vacation and come back with more than what I went with. In that case I have often purhcased another suitcase to carry my "overflow".

Deborah Gamble said...

What a terrific tale. Sounds like you earned your way into your wife's family!

Ornery's Wife said...

David;
I read this post to Ornery, who laughed uproariously. You see, he recalls my first trip home at Christmas from the University where we met. He tried ever so manfully to hoist my over-weight-limit suitcase and not appear weak. Years later he still gives me flap over that. As a matter of a fact, he and my bro-in-law, who had to tote it on the other end of the line, have razzed me about it numerous times.

I did pack and close the case myself, however. :-)
TM