I was at the airport two hours early, like a good citizen passenger in the Age of the Patriot Act. One suitcase, one guitar, a laptop, coat and a backpack.
The friendly clerk winced as I lifted my wheeled bag on to the scale.
"That might be a little over the limit," she said, nervously. "You might have to pay a charge."
"OK." I'd come this far, and was leaving for two months. Let's move forward, I thought.
"Actually, sir, I can't allow this bag on at all."
"Its' over the weight limit, and the FAA has strict rules about this. You're four pounds over the limit."
"Um well, what can I do?"
"Do you have room in your backpack for anything from your suitcase?"
I had packed every inch of everything, and there was no room for even a paper clip.
"Is there anything you can remove from your suitcase?"
"Well......." I knelt down and opened the suitcase, marveling again at what a freakin' excellent job I had done packing. I was at a loss, though. What could I take out? Where else would it go?
Then, reaching down to the bottom level, I pulled out my favorite cowboy boots--my perfect winter avenue and prairie friends for the last twenty-odd years.
"Weigh those," I said, handing them to the clerk.
She looked over the digital scale, and chuckled, "Four pounds."
I took off my worn sneakers, and began to pull the boots on. Eyeing a trash can across the lobby, I limped over with one boot one and one boot off, and tossed them away. Twenty bucks at a Reebok outlet store, they can be replaced. I limped back and stepped into both boots.
Just a tiny bit taller, I said, "Let's fly."