So tonight I have to start packing for my trip. This is more of an ordeal than one might think.
See, first I have to do laundry so that I actually have
clothes to pack. Invariably there are at least two essential items left out of the first run of laundry because they were hiding in very odd places, such as underpants on the stove*, skirt thrown casually over the balcony railing, socks in the bathroom cupboard, etc.
Then I do a practice pack, which is never intended to be just for practice, but I always forget like sixteen things and so I have to unpack it and pack it again. This is why I start packing on Saturday night for a flight that leaves Friday morning, even though I have Sunday and Monday off. I need those days to work through the stages. You see, when it comes to packing, I go through stages that are very similar to the five stages of grief.
First, denial: What, pack? I don't need to pack. I'm only going for a few days. I'll just throw some jeans and t-shirts in a backpack and I am set. They will have shampoos and everything at the hotel, right?
Eventually reality sets in when I remember that I am travelling with my mother, who will not be impressed if I wear each pair of socks twice and have to wash my one pair of underpants in the shower every night.
Then, anger: When the shit am I going to find time to do this? How am I going to fit everything I need to take in my tiny stupid fucking suitcase because my big suitcase is damaged from when some asshole at the airport decided to stand on it?! I don't have time to go away! My work/home/dog/significant other will fall apart without me! GRAH!
This stage usually subsides after I have put on some music and had some wine. Mmm, wine. Wish I had some now.
Next comes bargaining: Okay, if I put my sandals in my carry-on and wear three pairs of underwear on the plane, I can get everything in there. Oh crap, what about pajamas? Well, maybe I can make some room if I ditch the extra batteries for my camera...
Generally this lasts until I pop a seam on my bag, or until the wine runs out and I have to start hitting the gin.
Depression: Why am I even going on this trip? I can't afford it. Plus I should be paying more attention to finding a better job and a boyfriend, so I don't end up a crazy spinster cat lady living with my equally crazy spinster cat lady mother** at an age so advanced that we will essentially be of the same generation at that point...
At this point, I usually find it helpful to go and visit my mum, who is far more crap at packing
than I am, and who also goes through the Five Stages of Packing. She will be a couple of stages behind me, reeling about with a half-empty bottle of gin in one hand and four pairs of white linen pants in the other. When I arrive she will clutch at me and demand to know if I have room in my suitcase for three urgently-required pairs of shoes. All black, all sandals. Seeing this will remind me of the futility of what I am attempting to accomplish.
Acceptance: Fuck it. I just need to make sure that I bring my birth control pills*** and my neck pillow. If I've forgotten anything else, I can live without it or buy it there.
And there we have it.*Not really! Can you imagine? I once did find a bra on the kitchen counter, but in my defense, I was quite drunk the night before.
**For the record, I don't know where this line of thought comes from. My mother doesn't even LIKE cats.
***For medical reasons, not because I'm planning to score. How's that for an awkward conversation with your mum? "So if you see a bra on the doorknob, mum, you have to go somewhere else for like an hour. Because I will be getting down, nasty, and freaky, in that order. Okay?"