Saturday, June 10, 2006

Nothing Wrong With Basic Black

About a year ago, when I was not even shopping for one, I happened upon a wheeled, deep orange suitcase in my local mall. It was love at first sight.

Best of all, it had all the features I look for in such luggage -- small enough to go into an overhead bin, its handle internal, not attached on the outside, and its extension and retraction controlled by a button and enclosed by a zippered flap -- and recessed front pockets, not saddlebag afterthoughts. Best of all, in a sea of black bags, it would stand out on a carousel. And it was on sale. What's not to love?

But on my first trip with this new bag, I regretted the non-black color: The dark orange was liberally streaked with black airline baggage handler grease after the first flight of my trip. It looked worn and tired. By the time I got home, luggage handling had added more marks. I was wishing I had stuck to basic black. Sure, it would still have marks, but I would still have illusion of smart new luggage.

The suitcase stood out on the carousel for that one trip only. On later trips, it was joined by a host of others, ranging from bright orange to shades of red. Its once-unique feature was now commonplace, and I still needed my stick-on labels to locate it in the circling pack.

I'm going back to black in the future. It might be dirty and marked with grease, but it looks cleaner.

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