...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Packing for a trip
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So what kind of packer are you? Are you the “I can do it all in five minutes, what’s the big whoop?” smart one? Are you the list-making plan it all three days in advance type? The “I gotta wait to see what the weather forecast is” person who, now that we’re all hooked on the internet, can check the forecast hourly up until the day you leave?

Hello, my name is Andi and I am all of the above. At various times. I’m seldom the three day in advance type. Not anymore. Nor do I wait until the complete last minute, not since that time I was heading to Seattle from Oakland and I had PLENTY of time to pack since my flight wasn’t until 8:30 (in the old days when you could show up like 20 to 30 minutes out and it’s Oakland Airport for godsake) and I was working in San Francisco at the time and there was a massive accident on the Bay Bridge and traffic wasn’t moving and I ended up getting a bus that left me SOMEwhere in Oakland from whence I called Alva and said “put a pair of jeans and my hairbrush in my bag and come and get me. I’m at the corner of Walk and Don’t Walk.” And barely made the flight and oh my god was I happy to get off the plane except I still believed that maybe we were in Portland but no we were in Seattle and the first person to greet me was the blessed Kate Wilhelm.

So I try to plan. A bit. I’m a bit better about not packing on Monday for a trip on Friday just to make SURE, mind you, that I don’t forget anything. I’ve realized that forgetting things isn’t the worst thing in the world. I mean, I don’t travel to the Outback, or Bali, or Nepal, where they might not have Tom’s toothpaste. Or socks. I go to big cities where there tend to be, oh, my, drugstores. Or even um, departments stores if I forget socks. And while on that trip to Norwescon, where I had pretty much nothing but jeans and my brush, and this was before hotels recognized that women traveled too and that hairbrushes were probably more useful than irons, attending conventions means usually that some locals are there too and they can, as did Anna Jo, loan you a hair dryer.

I don’t travel far. I can’t. But I do still see in my mind’s eye, the “Doonesbury” where Joanie’s packing for law school and is worried that she doesn’t have enough pens and legal pads. “Don’t you think they’ll have those things there?” she’s asked. “I don’t KNOW. I’ve never done this before” she says (or something like…)

I like not to appear neurotic. Not to other people and not to myself, so I’ve tried to loosen up about packing and it’s worked. I haven’t run out of clothes yet – even if the most I’m away is 3 days. I haven’t forgotten underwear or socks. Mostly. Occasionally I mean to bring another pair of pants or a long sleeve shirt because well, there’s room and well YOU’ve been in some hotels, and you know that sometimes you freeze your butt off even if the weather outside is frightful but they still have the A/C going.

So I’m better. Mostly. Okay, so a wee tad obsessive a few days in advance THINKING about what to pack. But I don’t actually PACK it. Packing has gotten more complicated over the past years because a) I travel with my scooter and b) occasionally I travel alone, which means not having Stu there to carry stuff for me. The scooter is GREAT except that I can’t leave anything in it when I board the plane, so the backpack has to be empty as does the basket. So it’s got to be stuff I can manage. In a suitcase mostly.

This trip I’m taking is practically overnight – leave Friday morning, return Sunday. By train. Alone with scooter, but it means I don’t need lots of clothes, and I CAN put stuff in the scooter which rides in the train car with me. Clothes are the least of my worries since well, pretty much everything I own goes with everything I own. Mostly.

So okay, the weather keeps sucking, so I’ve shifted a bit to ensure I bring something WARM. Some THINGS warm, like to sleep in too since ya never know about hotel rooms. But what really is taking up my time?

1) The library van arrives tomorrow afternoon. It will have a slew of CDs from which I want to copy songs to load on the iPod. I mean, have you ever taken the train from Seatlte to Portland? I have. You can sit around a lot. I want to be prepared.

2) Books. How many and which ones? I always assume I’ll read at night at a convention. I’m usually way too tired to do so. But there is that train trip. Oh, yeah, the puzzle book. (yes, I bring too much but what if I get bored?)

3) Pills. I need them. Lots of them. I constantly worry that I’ll forget. It’s never happened. I need them WITH me and at my bedside. I’ve got those.

4) Um, blush. Stuffed animals. I am incapable of leaving the house to go on a trip without a fuzzy. Or three. And you don't want to hear about the decision-making process involved. After all, I'm an intelligent, mostly emotionally-healthy intelligent adult.

5) Something else. I ‘m being picked up before the crack of dawn on Friday so whatever I forget, I have to forget tomorrow. And remember early enough to not worry about.

It’s NOT like there aren’t drugstores in Portland. And I bet I could even find a book to read while I’m down there if I run out. And someone who could even loan me a pair of socks.

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