Tuesday, October 22, 2019

PACKER

 

 

By Monte Lazarus

(Note: If you are deceived by the title and believe this is about professional football, you may stop reading now. For purposes of full disclosure I hereby acknowledge that references to “my wife” are purely coincidental and I hope this acknowledgment insulates me from extraordinary reprisals.)

Every travel book and article I have read admonishes travelers to pack lightly. In fact, some urge prospective voyagers to lay out their clothes and sundries, and then leave half of them behind. In my world this advice is pooh-poohed, ridiculed and completely ignored. My wife (a fictional example), practical in all other respects, believes in many wardrobe changes every day – even far out at sea, surrounded by ladies in warm-up suits.

For any trip lasting more than one week we (all two of us) have an average load of eight (count ‘em 8) bags, including two goliaths and carry-ons. We have enough stuff to last a normal family of four adults at least six months…without using a laundry.

It’s reached the point that when we venture into the closet to drag out the suitcases I can hear the luggage groan. It’s not only audible; it’s pitiful. Hearing an otherwise inanimate suitcase moan and whine is almost as bad as hearing a hungry baby crying in the middle of the night.

Muscular airport redcaps have been reduced to quivering cowards by the sight of our mountain of cases. On cruise ships; fellow tourists look for Elizabeth Taylor once they’ve spotted our load. Cabin stewards have to tiptoe around our stacks of bags just to make up our bed. There was a rumor that one of our cruise ships listed to starboard (our side) just because of the extra weight.

Several years ago we boarded a train in Italy. When the crew saw our load, word got around the country, and the entire Italian railroad system went on strike. In France, we had to hire two vans just to get from the airport to the hotel. In the Czech Republic, the government almost fell. Even in England, the traditional stiff upper lip showed signs of bending when we arrived at customs. The hotel management wept.

The following list is a typical example of the Well Packed Tourist:

  • “Normal” everyday clothing for 21 days (for a 12 day trip).
  • Three extra turtlenecks in case Rome freezes in August.
  • Two extra dinner outfits in the event of “something”.
  • One Magnum of special shampoo.
  • One jeroboam of special conditioner.
  • Four extra pairs of shoes (they are light weight).
  • Sixty hair curlers (assorted sizes).
  • Raincoat (with liner because of snow in Rome – see above).
  • Two extra pairs of sunglasses in case the Rome snow is blinding.

There’s even a new addition. Because of recent events widely reported in the media, I am advised that we shall be packing a load of dry, but tasty, foodstuffs if our cruise ship is marooned in mid-ocean and runs out of food.

On the return trip, all of this is compounded by the burden of the trinkets, souvenirs and gifts we buy at every stop. Since there’s no room in our suitcases, we buy at least one on each trip just for the “extras”. Back home we’ve been receiving very personal handwritten thank you notes from the CEO’s of Samsonite and Travelpro for keeping their companies solvent.

The bright side of all this is that we’ve outfitted sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their progeny to be with all sorts of luggage that we can no longer fit into our condo.

 

 

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