Your journey starts here and now
I HAD a very agreeable summer break, actually, and it’s good of you to ask. I undertook several j ourneys, including one around the kitchen appliances department of Harvey Norman.
‘‘Enjoy your journey today,’’ I was told by a sales assistant from Planet Perky, and I didn’t so much as blink a jaded eye. All we modern folk are on journeys, whether being introduced to our unruly chakras at day spas or attending sports carnivals where five year olds undertake life-enhancing journeys with eggs and spoons or cruising aisles stacked with espresso machines that require a degree in rocket science to operate and cardcarrying membership of a cult.
Not that I am averse to joining a sect in which the charismatic George Clooney is in charge of wizardry but, pardon me, for now I amdigressing from myjourney and what we are here today to celebrate.
Thanks to reality television, with its endless reaching out and belief in our own fabulousness, we can embark on a journey without even getting to the front door, let alone packing a port. I love that word port, shortened from portmanteau, which is even better but perhaps a touch too much at the Jetstar check-in desk.
Port sounds purposeful and even a little sea-faring and I prefer it to suitcase or case, which is too much like a criminal matter and, quite frankly, some luggage designers should be charged with depraved indifference.
My father always referred to a bag as a port, and made it sound like an important accessory that would take him to meaningful places, not including Balinese spas and hardware barns. I don’t recall him reaching out to me — or to anyone, really — unless it was to proffer an airline boarding pass or a train ticket or, once, when I kicked a hated cousin, his left bowling hand to land a smack on my three-year-old bottom.
Whenever I transgressed, he would tell me to go upstairs and pack my port and find another family who would have me. It was a tradition that continued well after we left the double-storeyed manors of Surrey for the bungalows of Canberra, but I never dared point out the absence of stairs.
During these just-past holidays, I also journeyed through the luggage department at Myer in the heated frenzy of the early January sales. The bargains were tremendous, with ports big and small at about 50 per cent off. I left my run a bit late and some of the colours and patterns remaining were astonishing, from gregarious pinks to spotty-dotty affairs that would surely cause weary passengers to hallucinate at airport carousels after a journey of umpteen hours from one hemisphere to the other. Some of the ports at the sales were the size of furniture — a coffee-table, say, but one with secret compartments and double zippers and many wheels.
Soon luggage will grow window wipers and fold-away bunks and will be the size of recreational vehicles. The port I purchased was a black tiddler but with a merry pop-top, like a caravan. Even before I reached the cash register, I felt it had been a very successful journey.