There are stores where we're going, right?
In reality, I am not a good packer at all. In fact, next to the emergency services division at the Titanic, I may be the worst packer in recorded travel history.
I lack that certain mystical ability to propel my mind’s eye to different geographical locations whose temperatures vary from my usual rut. If it’s seventy-two degrees inside my family room, well it must be sunny with a chance of ceiling fan wind all over the entire planet, right? Even if someone calls from another part of the country and declares “It’s snowing here,” I’ll look out the window and tell them they’re a dang liar.
You might think that since I am aware of my shortcoming, I would compensate by over-packing on any given trip. Nope. I’ve found that in order to fit the snowsuits and the socks for a ski vacation, I have to abandon other unnecessary baggage like Q-tips and my husband.
Usually, I can hide my epic failures pretty well. When I wear the same clothes four days in a row, I blame lost luggage. I tell everyone my hair is a mess from the underpowered blow dryer in the hotel room. My other shoe was confiscated by TSA officials in Memphis, I say. Thank goodness there’s no photographic record of all my mistakes. Of course, that's because I always forget the camera.
But for the trip I am currently preparing for, it might not be so easy to get away with this. I will be surrounded by mothers who are experts in preparedness. At the airport they’ll whip out some worksheets from their emergency math kit strapped to their thighs so their children won’t be bored at the gate. I’ll have to dig around my purse for a stick of Dentyne and a penny, and hope my kids will be amused with short division.
Eying my torn Publix bag that I have repurposed as a carry-on, perhaps one of these kindly women will take pity and give my kids a few copies of her worksheets. She might even offer some of the other articles I’ve forgotten to pack, like toothpaste and sunscreen. As she reaches into her airline-approved luggage lined with zipper bags of individual outfits labeled for every day and hands me a bottle of Coppertone with a smile, she'll say, “In case you’ve forgotten yours, I have extra.”
I’ll feign a polite protest and lie and say I’ve got five bottles packed in my checked bags.
She’ll say, “Really, it’s not a problem. You don’t look like you tan well.”
-- Tracy Henry, the Suburban Diva