So we check in. You use a kiosk. It prints boarding passes. You take your bags to the counter. The lady frowns at you and tells you to put them on the scale one at a time, please. And then the following bizarre conversation takes place:
"In the future," she says, "you should put both bags under your name."
"Because, you know," she gives me a 'knowing look,' "they will call the house if hers is lost."
"And?" I said. "She lives there."
And she didn't say anything more, but gave me this look as if I were a hopeless idiot. Which I'm not, of course. But I'm rather clueless as to her point. Their system asks who is checking bags. It's their system, not mine. They limit carry-on, they limit how much you can check. It's their system, not mine. E paid full price for her ticket, therefore, in my eyes, she's entitled to her own carry-on and checked baggage. And if you had seen her chasing after her pink (yes, pink) suitcase at baggage claim, you would know she takes full responsibility for it. And she hauls it around with her. And wears her carry-on pink matching knapsack herself.
Her suitcase tag (to her disgust) does not have her first name on it and has both last names, so presumably I would be able to establish ownership. I have a military ID card that establishes her last name as that of my spouse. She lives in the same house, has the same phone number. Were the Dude's suitcase lost, I would be the one chasing it, not he. So how is her situation different?
Perhaps this woman was thinking our relationship was more distant with the two different last names. I'm old enough to be her grandmother. Or I might be an aunt. Or a step-relative of some kind. She certainly didn't ask and didn't seem to grasp that we lived in the same house and our phone numbers were the same. And it does occur to me that this woman simply viewed E as a non-person. Which, at 8, she isn't. She is most definitely a person now. I was very impressed with her maturity and independence on this trip. I was able to leave her sitting while I went in search of food or a bathroom, watching the bags. She went out to the curb in Boston by herself, leaving me with the bags. (And when she didn't come right back, I freaked, but that's a Mom thing. She was fine.)
And as the final point to my perplexity, this was the return flight. On the outbound flight, under identical circumstances, the baggage clerk didn't say anything about it.