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San Francisco, CA - Derek was waiting for me when I arrived at the Oakland International airport. It was so good to see him standing there in baggage claim. The time apart is rough on both of us and it had been three weeks since we last saw each other. After the short shuttle into San Francisco we checked in at the W and found our room.
What I didn't find in my luggage nearly wrecked me. While unpacking I found the notice from the Transportation Safety Administration indicating that my bag had been inspected at Sea/Tac Airport. What I didn't find was my six-foot David Morgan Bullwhip. Panic struck when I didn't immediately see it after I saw the Notice and pulled out my CHC colors vest revealing my boots and the three smaller bags containing my head kit, rigging kit and miscellaneous equipment.
Side Bar: I tend to be a very organized packer. I served as the Embarkation NCO for my artillery battery in the Marine Corps. Even the NATO style backpack I use for carry-on contains a smaller bag for socks and underwear (if any) along with my neatly rolled clothing for the trip... a place for everything and everything in its place.
So, the sinking feeling of loss came before I even pulled the last item out of my checked bag. Apparently somewhere between Check-In at SEA and Baggage Claim at OAK someone with access to my bag had stolen the bullwhip I had spent nearly $700 purchasing and countless hours conditioning for use over the past year. Those of you that throw single-tails will understand the crushing effect this could have had on my spirit.
I called TSA. Right. I called lost and found at SEA/TAC as directed. Give me a break. Once I finally got through the automated system after being directed back to a second number for the same TSA call center and being effectively disconnected through a dead-end menu option, the ever so helpful representative informed me that no one had turned in a (What color was it again?) black whip. Check back in on Tuesday and thanks for calling. Click.
Stand up, step back and take a deep breath. In anger management I was taught that Rule #1 was "Don't Put Yourself in Situations that Piss You Off," but you can't always avoid those situations, so I employed the backup plan. I counted to ten then reviewed my options and analyzed the efficacy of each before acting impulsively.
I call Alaska Airlines' MVP Customer Care. Christine was far more helpful. She took my report, initiated a corporate investigation and suggested I download, print, complete and submit a few forms to the TSA when I got home. I called the Port Authority Police Department after that and filed a Stolen Property Report. Do you think if I filed a request to waterboard every agent that had access to my bag with the Department of Homeland Security to determine any information relating to the theft of the item in question would place me on a watch list?
Punish-fucking Derek like he was a baggage handler and dinner followed.
As it turns out, the GayVN Summit held before the awards show, was located at the W this year and as we walked back into the lobby we ran into Mr. Pam (pictured on the left) the Director of the Tim & Roma Show and were quickly invited up to the Falcon Personals sponsored cocktail party upstairs. Derek and I got to see a few of our Industry friends. While there, Stacey from Gay Chicago Magazine and the Producer of the Grabbys asked Derek and me to be presenters at this year's event and we agreed. I also got to meet Jonah Davies, the author of the Unzipped Magazine interview in person and thank him for the article.
One rather shocking moment came when Michael Lucas introduced himself, said he knew who I was and congratulated me on my performance in Breakers. That was followed by an involved conversation with one of the executives from Falcon about niche markets, movies that feature heavier play and his perception of my introduction into adult films. It was an interesting event to say the least.
We're off to the Eagle and then the Powerhouse for some playtime.