Photo of the approximate amount of luggage I would deem necessary for an out-of-town wedding weekend courtesy of Mattes
J, LO, and I are currently
on vacation. We've taken an old-fashioned family road trip to the
Finger Lakes region of New York state.
After ten years together, it
is this particular trip which has highlighted the vast difference
between how J packs for a trip and how I do so.
J, upon realizing he will be
gone for approximately six weeks, will calculate that two tee-shirts
and a pair of jeans will cover his sartorial needs for his entire
I, on the other hand, will
bring three pairs of jeans, two dozen shirts and blouses, at least
one dress or skirt, two pairs of dress pants, two swimsuits, and no
fewer than four pairs of shoes for a three-day weekend out of town.
J accuses me of trying to
break his back.
I tell him that he does not
sufficiently plan for every possible contingency.
He points out that I do not
use 80% of the clothing I bring with me on trips.
I calmly explain through my
teeth that we always end up having to buy something for J that we
already own when on trips.
This is the point at which J
says he's going to take over packing for our next trip, which never
I think my overpacking
tendencies stem from two separate things:
1. When I was about 12,
knowing that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up and hating the
feeling that occurs when all you need is a pen and there is none
about, I decided to be the sort of person who always carries a pen
and paper with me, no matter what. After a few years, I revised my
resolution to include all sorts of different necessities-like a
napkin or tissues, a buck or two in cash, and a bottle of water.
Basically, I decided on my very own that I wanted to always be
2. When I was packing for my
six months in Paris as a junior in college, I was struck by the
assertion in the packing list provided to me by my study program that
"no one ever feels like they packed too little." So, I cut my
packing list down to the bare necessities, thinking how much smarter
I would be than the average traveling-abroad bear.
I packed too little.
(Of course, this gave me the
opportunity to replenish my stores through shopping trips in Paris,
about which I probably cannot and should not complain, but I
definitely had fewer clothes with me than I needed, and I definitely
spent more money than I ought to have while I was there.)
So, for this trip to upstate
New York, we have a strange hybrid of our packing styles. J packed
for himself and LO, meaning each of the masculine members of our
family have a grand total of two pairs of pants/shorts to wear
throughout our trip. (This is also problematic considering LO's
engaging habit of getting yogurt/applesauce/hummus/chocolate/juice on
his own clothes, and then immediately transferring said food onto
whichever parent he happens to be nearest to at the time of the
I, on the other hand, have
approximately six different pairs of maternity pants/shorts, plus
various other types of cover ups for my nether limbs, even though I
spend as much time as possible in my favorite pair of capris,
provided they are not covered in hummus.
J is pleased that there is a
50% reduction in the weight of our suitcase due to his packing for
himself. I am learning not to cringe at the idea of my boys looking
like rumpled tourists, considering the fact that it is what they are.
And, I know that I have the clothing necessary for myself for any
possible contingency, including high tea with the queen should it be
LO just wants to know why we
didn't pack ALL the toys.