In a fog… (in which I complain about suitcases)

Some days my brain is in a fog. There’s just no other way to describe it — fuzzy, unfocused, a little lost. It happens to me every time you put me in front of a suitcase.

A foggy day on the Fraser River

Suitcases were designed to thwart any attempt to contain what may be necessary for the impending journey. Doesn’t matter if I’m going to be away for two days or ten, there is always spillover into a tote bag, my purse, and occasionally even a couple plastic grocery bags.

Take this weekend, for example. Three-and-a-half days at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference is not a particularly long time. (I know from experience it will be much too short.) I won’t be dancing, mountain climbing, gardening or attending the opera. I’ll be indoors, either sitting in workshops or hobnobbing with friends and fellow writers the entire time, so I won’t need a great diversity of clothing. So why is it the stack of neatly folded items on my bed once again towers higher than the suitcase that not long ago held everything I needed for a month’s vacation? (Well, almost everything. There was my hairdryer and my writing kit…. oh, and my camera. They all ended up in a separate bag.)

This is my dilemma: what to eliminate to ensure there will still be room to bring back all the books and other goodies that I’m undoubtedly going to accumulate during the weekend. What can I do without? Shoes? Maybe. If I don’t get my slacks hemmed nobody is going to be able to see my feet anyway. Underwear? No, that would be indecent, and I’m always decent. Maybe the bulky sweater. If I wear my flamboyant  ‘Roaring Twenties’ coat all weekend I won’t need a sweater. Then again, I can’t live in that coat for three-and-a-half days. The feathers will drive me crazy.

I can’t seem to focus on the solution. There must be one, but I’m ready for a coffee break at the moment. I fancy a muffin. Maybe I’ll go bake a batch of pumpkin ones. I have some pumpkin I didn’t use at Thanksgiving. Did I tell you that our church ladies bake The. Best. Pumpkin pies? They make them as a fundraiser every fall. I think they’ll also have some to sell at their Christmas bazaar that’s coming up in November. I must remember to pick up the ingredients for my fruitcakes soon so I have everything on hand for that annual mid-November baking endeavour. Oh, speaking of annual things, did you know the Surrey conference is this weekend? Whatever am I going to do about this mountain of stuff I need to take?

There’s a bigger suitcase in the basement. I think my mother-in-law’s silver tea service is in a box somewhere down there, too. I’ll bet it needs polishing. I wonder if I have any tarnish remover.

Do you have packing panic whenever you travel, or is it just me? 

~  ~  ~

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10 thoughts on “In a fog… (in which I complain about suitcases)

  1. Judith Robl says:

    Absolutely love your mental tangents. They echo mine.

    When I leave home, I carry my hanging suitcase; a duffel with makeup, shoes, hair stuff, and other accoutrements; my laptop in its case; and another duffel with a small printer. I may never fly again.

    No advice here, just commiseration. Hope you have a great time at the conference.

  2. joylene says:

    This is what I do, Carol. I play out the moments one by one. I get up in the morning and then grab everything I’ll need and pack it. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant. Forget the blow dryer; I’m sure they have them in the bathrooms. In your case, I’d take an extra top just in case you spill something. Not that you’re sloppy–goodness no. But who knows really. Shari may bump into you with her double-decker piece of chocolate cake. Lucky bum. Don’t forget extra underwear in case you’re get in a car accident. That’s what my mother always said. I think she had an innate fear that one of us would show up at the hospital with yesterday’s underwear. What can I say, I did have a few accidents whereupon I’d open my eyes, find myself on a stretcher in the hospital with my mother peering down at me. I’m trying to remember if she ever whispered, “I hope you were wearing clean underwear!”

    I’m sure she didn’t, yet…

    I do so hope you have a fabulous time. I’m so jealous. I wanna go too! On second thought, take nothing. I’ll climb into the suitcase and we’ll have such fun! Course, you’re be cold, and after a few days you may smell a bit — but some sacrifices are worth it, eh!

  3. Shari Green says:

    LOL, I love all your mental wanderings. I haven’t even thought about packing yet (ack!). I’ve had a tightly-scheduled past couple days. Today is more of the same, but at least I’ve got “pack” penciled in for this afternoon. ;)

  4. hwik says:

    Just get Dad to pack for you. He can pack more in a tight space than any man I know!

    • Carol says:

      Oh, yes! He’s the most efficient packer I’ve ever seen! But I’m not sure I want to let him loose on my weekend wardrobe… not unless I’m going to take along an iron to get the tightly squished wrinkles out of everything.

  5. I always have the same problem. I tend to put out many things and then whittle it down, making sure I ahve an outfit for each day and one spare just in case. I always take too many pairs of shoes. I am trying hard to cut back. You will need room for the books and info. Stop by the Federation of Bc Writer’s table on Sunday morning between 10 – 1:00. and say Hello to me.

  6. Jenn Hubbard says:

    Yeah, I can’t understand how even the biggest suitcase is never big enough!

  7. Are you living in my house around trip prep time?? This is perfect! That panic, that delaying tactic stuff, those horribly hard choices – and STILL, there is TOO MUCH. Oh yes, this is me, to a “T.” Thanks for the giggle and the reminder that I am not alone in this overpacking nightmare.

  8. Carol says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments today. Thanks for stopping by to share in my pre-conference packing rant. I finally have *almost* everything that I need stuffed in the suitcase, but I’m taking along an empty tote to handle the extra things I’m certain to want to bring home with me. :)

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