As I’ve mentioned to anybody who’ll stand still long enough, I love my car partially because it’s just such an awesome car and partially because it saved my life 7-1/2yrs ago. So, Volkswagen has held a special place in my heart as a brand that can SAVE LIVES. (I’ll post that story later this week, since I think I haven’t told that one yet.) Those ads they used to run where the people would be talking in the car and then suddenly you’d see them standing on the side of the road next to a wreck of a car that they easily escaped from? Yeah, I’ve had that happen to me.
And now I can add American Tourister to the list of “life-saving” brands.
Last week, I was at a conference in that bastion of civilization, Alexandria, VA. As a native Washingtonian and a naturalized Marylander, I have a general sneer when it comes to the parts of Virginia that are just damned inconvenient to get to, and Alexandria is on that list. As a matter of fact, in the 24 years I lived in the DC area, I think I went to Alexandria TWICE. When I was offered the option to go to a conference there, I pulled on my big girl panties and said, “FINE – I’LL GO TO NOWHERESVILLE NORTHERN VIRGINIA”. (As my Arlington friends chuckle, because they know that I’ll happily hang anywhere on the Orange line and miss my time on Clarendon.)
The last morning of the conference, I was walking the 1/2mi from my hotel to the conference hotel, with my American Tourister rolling bag on my left and my laptop bag across my body, hanging on my right. There is an apartment complex across from the hotel where the conference was held, and the crosswalk in front of it is broken up by a small island (one lane into the complex, island, one lane out). The walk light was firmly lit, so off I went across the first part of the crosswalk...and that’s when it happened.
With no warning, my rolling bag came flying into my left leg and I was promptly dropped on my ass (what I described to others as a very rough version of falling rapidly and harshly on an extremely icy ski slope, in terms of the hardness of the surface). What in the…? I looked up and saw a small white car stop.
Holy crap, I was just hit by a car.
I went over to the driver, who didn’t get out of his car (what a lovely human being!), as he stammered over and over again, “You have to forgive me! Please forgive me!”
I honestly wasn’t sure WHAT to say. I was just hit by a car.
I said a few choice words at the driver – although far fewer than I expected myself to say – and I made it perfectly clear that I wasn’t going to give him the absolution he craved. How do you forgive someone for hitting you with a car? I can understand forgiving someone who accidentally let a door swing shut on you, but that’s not a one-ton thing powered by an engine.
I checked the one leg that felt a little off, and it just sustained some minimal scrapes; it wasn’t until later that I felt somewhat bruised on my hip – but that was also minor and I had a very large bottle of ibuprofen. Honestly, it was the bag that saved my life – or at least my left leg. If I hadn’t had my rolling bag on the side where the car hit, the car would’ve taken out my already dodgy knee, and instead of angrily walking to the conference in shock – and a snit – I would’ve been in an ambulance en route to one of Northern Virginia’s fine hospitals. The suitcase did sustain some minor damage, specifically a crack in one of the handle rods, but I managed to resolve it well enough to get myself home and am now just hoping American Tourister can help me get a replacement handle to solve the problem fully.
The bag in question is this awesome little suitcase that I got as part of my DisneySide party gear; it’s the PERFECT bag for a 2-3 night trip, and now I know it can take some serious body blows…like from a moving vehicle probably going 15mph. I took it on a bunch of trips this year, and it’s small enough that you can stow it easily on a plane or a train, yet it’s also roomy enough that you don’t feel like you’re cramming in just a few days worth of stuff into a one-night bag. It rolls very smoothly and the ball wheels make it super-easy to navigate even without putting it on an incline. It’s also light as all get-out, so it’s very maneuverable and easier to wrestle in/out of an overhead bin.
For a better close-up of my new favorite bag (which I actually fell in love with before it saved me from a trip to the hospital), check it out at Amazon.com: American Tourister Have A Ball 20″ Spinner.
So, kids, I guess the lessons are as follows:
1. When offered an opportunity to stay at the conference hotel, even if it’s not a Marriott and you won’t get all the awesome points that you want, JUST STAY THERE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY.
2. Always walk with your rolling bag on the same side as where a car may hit you.
3. ALWAYS take the opportunity to buy a Volkswagen if you have the means; they are built like tanks and that may come in handy someday (hopefully you’ll never need it, like I did).
4. Buy American Tourister. They’ve got a fan for life in me, and now I know my luggage brand of choice from this point forward. Any luggage brand that can keep me out of the hospital wins my money forever.