We have all come a long way since the inception of this project. In fact, I am writing this as the current steward of the now legendary suitcase. What is particularly special is that many of us got to participate with the suitcase "front and center" at the most recent PauseOnError - PoE Summer Camp 2021 this past October. It was basically in my backyard (I live in Atlanta) so how could I miss it?
The Pandemic still continues - and unfortunately, in some parts of the world, it sometimes still rages. For most of us, it has subsided enough to do things like attend conferences in person, travel, dine out, etc. I would like to think that this protocol will last longer than the pandemic. Certainly this community will continue to thrive.
The suitcase went through some unusually high activity during PoE. I personally witnessed the contents spill out on several occasions. I also saw one of our conference hosts who is not named Krissy steal away to absorb an alleged journal that may or may not accompany the suitcase.
When I finally took possession, I was determined to take it somewhere special, somewhere interesting.
Stone Mountain is the largest exposed piece of granite in the world, and it is right here in Atlanta, GA. On an absolutely gorgeous fall day, I took the suitcase for a photoshoot on Stone Mountain.
Talk about strange looks... I can report at least a dozen different groups stared at me and nudged a companion to point out the strange guy carrying a suitcase up the mountain. Five groups actually stopped me to ask for an explanation, which I gave in varying degrees of detail based on my gut for what their appetite was to hear the story. All but one loved whatever version of the story I shared. One man from NYC just shrugged and looked at his wife as if they just encountered a senile homeless man who thought there was a Greyhound bus terminal at the top of the summit.
The best encounter by far occurred just as I started to hike back down. A man with a thick accent (he was visiting from Bolivia) approached me and asked about the "strange, old suitcase". During our 20 minute conversation with his wife and other family members, he asked if he could take the suitcase back to Bolivia to share and he promised he would send it back. Yes, I briefly thought about inserting a huge wrench in the protocol, but decided against it. The Bolivians are my new best friends.
I'm about to hand it off to Michael Gaslowitz. It's been an honor to have had it in my possession.
Here is the original blog post on the Suitcase Protocol site.