Saturday, June 25, 2005

This Is Going To Be A Trip

When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. ~ Mark Twain

Each year when we are coming home from our annual vacation/family reunion in Ohio I vow that the next year we will pack light. In truth I could get by with a toothbrush, a razor, two pairs of jeans, two pairs of shorts, underwear, socks, sandals, a few tee shirts and tennis a shirt without any slogan on it for church. Heck, I could probably pack everything I need into a WalMart bag.

I can guarantee though that we will lug more stuff with us onto the airplane than I knew we owned, sometimes we even take empty suitcases knowing we'll not be able to fit everything we brought with us back into the luggage we've crammed full for the trip there.

It's not like we're going camping...everywhere we go in Ohio there will be modern conveniences, including washing machines and dryers...but we will over-pack. We'll pack for warm weather, for cold weather, for wet weather, and for the Rapture - you can't be too careful.

This lunacy is something I've learned to accept, if not embrace.

Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
~ George Orwell

I'm as guilty as Amy, although Amy is the only one who insists on packing food - she does a lot of cooking while we're on vacation and "you can't get real food" in Ohio. We once took a "carry-on" bag full of frozen meat on our trip - you know you're a redneck if your carry-on luggage is a cooler full of fajita meat. That carry-on luggage didn't fit in any carry-on compartments by the way so we had to beg and cajole various flight attendants along the way into stashing our meat in secret places they apparently have on aircraft for people who travel with mini-refrigerators. I felt certain someone was going to double check to make sure our last name wasn't Dahmer, but no one batted an eyelash or even asked if my middle name was Wayne...apparently traveling with frozen meat is not the most absurd thing airline personnel have seen. Yes, that disturbs me too but I'd rather not dwell on it.

We leave for Ohio very early on Tuesday and Amy is now starting to throttle up into panic mode. There are lists being made, piles of clothes are appearing, luggage is being dragged out from closets and the garage amid periodic tearful outbursts that we need to clean the house before we leave - something that would be a lot easier if we didn't spend these next few days tearing apart the house packing. That, by the way, is something I have learned only to think, not say aloud.

The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad ~ Salvador Dali

We're making plans to pay bills, avoid paying bills, get a fist full of traveler's checks and doing our mental best to reach that state of bliss where the economics of taking a vacation are no longer a factor - some folks think of this as denial...I prefer not to think about it at all.

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane ~ Phillip K. Dick

Soon one of my favorite parts of the ordeal will begin - Amy will start putting spices into baggies. I'm not really certain as to why - but presumably they don't sell "real spices" in Ohio either. Amy will stuff baggies with white powders as well as green leafy substances and then cram the baggies into our luggage - no doubt mine. This will, of course, provoke some sleepless moments for me as I envision being pulled aside by gruff airport security officers who will soon introduce me and every one of my body cavities to a drug sniffing dog named Bruno. Amy packs food, I leave space for paranoia.

This year will be easier though...we don't have to kennel the dogs, or stop the mail because Erin is staying at the house. Amy tried to coax her into coming with us, but somehow the thought of spending a week or two with 18 or more complete strangers who have relatives who pack meat in their luggage didn't appeal to her as much as having a nice big house to herself and three smelly dogs - washing the dogs before we go is on a list somewhere I'm sure - there's no accounting for common sense.

Insanity doesn't run in my family. It gallops. ~ Cary Grant

Since Amy is working today and tomorrow and I'm working right up until the moment we have to leave for the airport at 4 a.m. Tuesday the frazzle of preparing for flight should intensify exponentially in the next 72 hours or so.

During those precious few hours we'll make a mad rush to the grocery store to buy food to snack on during our flight - this actually isn't crazy since airlines now offer you a microscopic bag of miniature pretzels as sustenance if you're not traveling completely around the first class - as well as food for Erin, food for the dogs, and of course the "real food" that they don't sell in tortillas, refried beans, enchilada sauce and meat.

Eventually we'll start cramming stuff into suitcases with mad abandon, the idea of folding clothes and packing sensibly will fall by the wayside faster than a statement of fidelity from Bill Clinton. Somewhere in the process I will be asked to sit on a suitcase to make it close - if the situation becomes dire enough it may actually be a request to sit next to Amy on the suitcase while we both jump up and down while saying silent prayers that white powder and green leafy stuff doesn't start spewing out the sides.

I'll pack enough books, magazines and crossword puzzles to keep us and the entire population of Delaware entertained. I've never been to Delaware by the way...I don't have enough luggage for a trip that far.

And then, sooner than we can believe, Tuesday morning will arrive. Lacking all confidence in our sense of over-preparedness we will throw caution to the wind and leave. The dogs will no doubt still smell, the house will probably be in shambles, and Erin will be giving serious consideration to changing the locks while we're gone.

You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. ~ Robin Williams

Thank you God...I can't wait. I really do love this time of year.