December 3, 2009

I Hate Packing

The only thing I hate more than unpacking, is packing.

(ok, maybe that's a stretch - there are certainly things I hate more than both packing and unpacking. Like waiting, or being put on hold - the worst form of waiting, or bring stuck in freezing rain)

But it doesn't change the fact that I hate packing. It's not so bad when you're going on a little vacation and all you need to pack are some sandals, a bathing suit, a floppy hat, a sundress and a book. Or any time when you just have to pack a select number of necessary things. It's oh-so-much worse when you have to pack up everything. Luckily a lot of my stuff is already packed, because I didn't unpack it when I moved into my temporary apartment two months ago.

But the stuff I did unpack, I unpacked out of a limited number of boxes and suitcases. And although I've acquired very few new things since moving, it still baffles me that every time - every single time - I have to pack something back into the original box/suitcase/bag it came in, it never fits. Never. Somehow, things expand and multiply on their own, and somehow, the ten 3/4-full boxes you brought over are now twelve about-to-pop boxes. It's like magic. The bad kind.

In addition to all of this madness, in this particular packing session I'm stuck in a sort of catch 22. Logically, I should first pack up what I'm bringing to Boston, and then pack up whatever is left over to bring to the beach house for storage. But I since I'm not leaving until Sunday, I sort of need to use some of the stuff I'll be bringing to Boston in the next three days. Which means I have to pack the stuff I'm bringing to the beach house first. But then I get all confused about what to pack, since I don't know what I'm bringing to Boston yet.

Ok, so it's really stupid and kind of whiny catch 22. But it's perplexing nonetheless. Especially because I'm one of those people that looks that that sparkly sequin top I haven't worn in two years and starts the following maddening inner debate:

Inner Reason: Ok, so that goes into the beach house storage pile.

Inner Unreasonable Packer: But what if we want to wear it in Boston?

Inner Reason: But we haven't worn that in two years.

Inner Unreasonable Packer: Exactly. Maybe we'll want to wear it now.

Inner Reason: We've gone two whole years without even considering wearing it, I think we'll be fine for the next six weeks.

Inner Unreasonable Packer: I know. But what if we get invited to an awesome party and really want to wear it but we don't have it because it's in Italy. Then what?

Inner Reason: We'll survive. It's going to the beach house.

Inner Unreasonable Packer: Fine! But I'm mad at you... ... We're not talk- Oooh! What about the satin minidress?

Inner Reason: Don't start with me again!

And it's that exact process over and over again. I can't even count the number of times I've paid the overweight luggage fine, only to find myself never wearing the knee-high suede boots that weigh a ton and I just knew I would wear at least five times, or bringing a different handbag for every potential occasion, only to stick with my trusty slouchy black shoulder bag, even for the fancy parties.

Add to this the fact that I not only have to decide what I'm bring to Boston for the next six weeks, but also pretty much what I'm going to be bringing to Madrid for the following four months, and it becomes a much more difficult process. Do I need four different colored headbands? Do I need a lint roller? Do I need framed photos of Valerio and me when I have all the originals on my computer?

It's like trying to reason with a crazy person. Except I'm the crazy person and the reasonable one, and they're both in my head. And it involves none of the fun of having any imaginary friend. The only thing making any of this bearable is my amazing new carry-on luggage, already chock full with delicious Christmas goodies for my family.

Well, back to my inner conflict. Have a lovely weekend, if I spend so much time agonizing over what to pack that I don't manage to get back here before I leave Sunday.


De Lly Dilettante said...

Great post. I hate packing too. I tend to delay it until the last possible moment...

Stephen K said...

See I quite like unpacking - it's almost as if you're creating a new life with the pieces of your old life you see fit to bring along with you for the ride, using the new room as a blank canvas. Plus you can do it in stages.

But packing is a whole, horrific different matter - it's harder because you're packing your life into a finite space, and just psychologically it can be a little saddening also. And of course, as you have raised, there is a distinct logistical issue. What I would recommend is having a half packed box for just the stuff you'll be using in those few days?

p.s. even more worrying than the Catch 22 which you contrived (which makes sense by the way) is the fact that you gave each of your points of view a distinct personality. Uh oh...

I jest, nice post and I hope you sort out your packing in time! Always a stressful period.

Julia said...

I seem to have solved the catch 22, but it involves using my bed as a temporary holding place for all things undecided. The only downside is that I'm not sure where I'll be sleeping... :)