Did you hear the one about the Kiwi, the Asian and the Indian?
Long story short. I've been in Napier with Mrs P for a wedding.
I've done my bit to support the Hawke's Bay wine industry (if you get my drift) and am feeling, er, shall we say "less than enthusiastic" as I remove our bags from the room to the car for the journey home.
Anyway, when I say "our" bags I say it in the loosest sense of the word.
My personal bag is the size of a plastic bag from the supermarket. I threw some gear in it as I left home.
Mrs P's luggage is another matter.
And as I stand waiting for the elevator down from the seventh floor, one of her bags hanging from every able limb, one under my arm and another over my shoulder, I wonder how on earth one person could possibly need so much stuff for a two-night stay.
I get into the empty lift pondering the issue when a call comes from round the corner to 'hold the lift'.
It is said in an Asian voice (which is difficult to write but I'm sure you get my drift). I stick out my one available leg (I need the other one to stand on) and hold the door as an equally overburdened husband/partner gets in.
We do the thing we all do in a lift. Ignore each other and look at the floor number changing. Seven . . . six . . . then I decide to speak.
"You wouldn't believe we are only away for two nights would you," I say indicating my baggage.
"Me too," says my elevator mate as we descend. "I keep tell her. She no listen". And, dear reader, that's no joke. It's exactly how he said it.
We stop at floor five. In gets an Indian bloke . . . carrying more bags than it should be humanly possible to carry.
Me and the Asian guy start laughing.
Knowingly our fellow elevator traveller starts shaking his head Indian style.
"We are only away for the night," he says with the tired resignation of someone who has been here before.
Me and the Asian bloke both nod in total understanding.
Eventually our international caravan gets to reception.
An Australian woman (the velvety smooth tone of her accent, ahem, gave it away) is haranguing the desk clerk about the windy weather (because he can do something about it I presume) as her husband stands amid a pile of luggage.
I stifle a guffaw (which is kind of like a laugh on top of a laugh) in part at the ridiculous notion the desk clerk can sort the weather ("Yes madam, I'll have the wind turned down immediately") and partly because of the look of amusement on the faces of my fellow Baggage Brothers.
Seeing this the Aussie husband offers a shrug of his shoulders in defeat.
"Maaaaaate," he drawls dejectedly as he eyes the 325 bags around him.
In international Baggage Brother terms we know EXACTLY what he means.
But there is no group hug. No slap on the back or words of encouragement. We know, and he knows, this is just the way it is and will always be.
"Poor man," says the Asian. "She have lot of bags."
The Indian guy and I nod solemnly in agreement as we say our farewells and head to our cars. I'm just hoping I don't bump into them again. I'm too embarrassed to tell them I've got at least two more trips up and down in the elevator before I'm finished my baggage run.
- Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to firstname.lastname@example.org