When we last left our hero, Northwest Airlines lost his suit the night before he was scheduled to be in court.
Northwest assured me that it would deliver my suitcase to the hotel at around midnight. I was up until about 12:45am preparing for my oral argument (man that sounds dirty when writing for a lay audience). I decided to go to bed once I started wondering if I could get away with working the word "freakstacy" in during my argument.
My bag still hadn't arrived.
I called the front desk to see if the bag came. The desk clerk told me that it hadn't but that sometimes bags come in as late (or early) as 2-3:00am.
Despite my cynical exterior, I'm an optimist at heart. I wanted to believe that nothing as horrible as having to appear in court wearing a sweater and khaki's would ever happen to me. The good people at Northwest wouldn't let that happen, right? My bag would arrive something while I slept and I would arrive in court impeccably groomed and with clean underwear.
I looked at the clock at about a quarter to three, called the desk and was told that my bag hadn't arrived and that there probably wouldn't be any deliveries until the morning.
I had to be in court at 9:00am.
A lesser man would have panicked. I considered my options. I could turn the events to my advantage by just showing up in court in my "street" clothes, and use that to demonstrate my faith in my argument.
Your honors (three judges in an appeal panel), I stand before you today in khakis and a sweater because that's how sure I am in my client's position. I'd be a fool to appear without proper attire if I thought in any way that my position was unsound. In fact, I am so confident that I'm actually freeballing right now! That's how I roll.
Well, that was Plan B. Plan A was to try to find some suitable attire in Covington, Kentucky at 4:00 in the morning. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I hopped in a cab. I never thought that I'd be grateful for Wal-Mart. I must confess that I'm a little shallow. I'm brand conscious and a little snobbish about clothes. My rule, up to this point, was "Never buy clothes at the same place where you can buy tools." But hey, that's what happens at four in the morning. You eat at Denny's, you shop at Wal-Mart. Both are establishments that thrive because they operate when there are no other options.
I ended up buying a $50 suit jacket, $12 shirt and $8 tie, because those were the nicest things they had. I looked at myself, under the harsh flourescent light. I thought that my skin would blister under these synthetic fabrics. It burned, I tell you, it burned. I bought underwear, t-shirts, and all the various products that I needed. For the first time in my life, I put my business attire on a conveyer belt and checked out.
The cab driver waited for me, but asked me when I got back in the cab why I had to go to court. I guess it did look weird, buying clothes at 4:00am for a court appearance. I just told him that is was all a big misunderstand and that I had no idea how those severed heads got in my trunk.
I got dressed back at the hotel, dazed from lack of sleep.
But I made it to court and gave what I thought was a pretty good argument, considering that I was dressed like the world's worst insurance agent.
By the time I left to catch my return flight, my bag still hadn't arrived. When I checked in, Northwest told me that my bag was coming in from Detroit about 40 minutes before my flight, but that they would tag it and it would immediately make it to my new flight.
I was skeptical. I argued that there was no way that it would make it. The clerk assured me that it had an "expedited" tag on it and that it would make it.
I knew he was lying. But I didn't care. I wanted to be lied to. I wanted him to tell me that everything was going to be ok. I wanted to believe that Northwest would be able to accomplish this relatively complicated task, despite the fact that they had been utterly incompetent in every other step of the way. I was Tina Turner in the second act of "What's Love Got To Do With It?" and Northwest was Ike.
Needless to say, my bag didn't make it. It somehow ended up in Minneapolis. I got the bag Saturday night, two days after I originally left.
No apology, no explanation, nothing.
I'll let you know how the judges ruled. This story would really suck if I lost.