On packing

If there is one activity that for me is fraught with ambiguity and melancholy it is packing for long trips. Not that I’m going on a long trip or anything, but many people I know are packing up and moving out because school is out, they are graduating, taking new jobs, and moving on. They are leaving and a big part of leaving is packing. I am happy that they are getting on with their lives, but I am sad that they are leaving once and for all, and when people leave, they never come back. When I pack I invariably forget half a dozen things which are vital to my survival, but I do manage to take forty pounds of stuff that I will never need when I get to my destination. In the meantime, I’ve forgotten my toothbrush, an extra pair of underwear, and my glasses. I would forget shoes but I’ve got to put them on to get out of the door. Living in Waco, I have forgotten to bring a coat or jacket with me and regretted it. Packing is such an imprecise science which prone to fail just when you think you have it right. You forget the little book with all your passwords, the cord to your phone charger, your phone, your keys, your snacks. If there is an art to packing it has to do with traveling light, always including a towel, never expecting that you will remember everything. In other words, when you get to your destination, just imagine that you will have to go buy a few things because that’s just the way packing is. Packing is both the sign for a new destination and leaving behind of a current place, all of which is fraught with multiple complications which are all undergirded by strange feelings of loss. Sure, you can always, “phone home,” but it’s not the same as being there. So even getting out the suitcases makes me just slightly morose and cranky, irked, maybe.