Jim's Polka

The life of a former software engineer, now a law student

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Tickets and Passports

I worked a summer in Japan between my second and third years of college. The engineering school at my alma mater would find you an internship at a Japanese company if you took 2 years of Japanese. They found me a job at NTT (the phone company) in Tokyo. I have lots of stories about that summer, but the story I want to tell now is about my return trip.

I'm not sure if I've conveyed this properly, but I'm a bit of a flake. Usually I try to mitigate this with advance planning (i.e. prepare now for when I do something idiotic later). When I was packing up to leave on the last day, I looked at my ticket and passport and said to myself "I'd better put these somewhere where I won't lose track of them. The passport went into my pocket, but the ticket wouldn't fit, so I put it on top of my suitcase. "There. I'll definitely remember it there."

So, off I went to the airport. It's about 2 hours by train from where I was living (Heiwajima) to Narita Airport, so some of my co-workers had decided to go with me. About halfway there, one of them was telling a story about how his brother had forgotten his passport at home on a recent trip to Canada.

Jim checks pockets. Yup, passport still there. "Well, I'm glad I didn't do something dumb like that!" "Hmmm... what about my ticket........ oh, right, it's not here. That's because it's right there on the floor of the room I was staying in. Good thinking."
Luckily, we had allowed lots of extra time to get to the airport. So, we worked out a little exchange involving my host mother and a co-worker, who hopped the next train to the airport and gave me the ticket in plenty of time. (And, no, the airline wouldn't reissue my ticket. I don't know why. )

I'm thinking about this today because the other day my brother took it to the next level. He's presenting a couple papers at an economics conference in Sweden this month. He's in school in upstate New York, but he was taking a flight from Baltimore, leaving on Wednesday. On Tuesday, he realized that he didn't have his passport. So he did the only thing possible - got on the road for the 6 hour drive back to NY. Somewhere around Harrisburg, PA, he got a call on his cell phone. Someone had found his passport at our dad's place. Apparently it never went back to school with him after his trip to Italy last summer.

Boy, if ever there was any doubt that the two of us are related.........