The Joys of Packing

Although it’s kind of ridiculous to be thinking about packing today, I really can’t help it. We went shopping earlier in the week for the few things we needed (water proof flip flops, athletic shoes that weren’t falling apart) and the things we maybe didn’t (but are so cute), and I’d say we’re pretty well set for Florida.

I just like clothes. Not expensive ones, because I hate wasting money, and I know clothes never last long with me. I am a magnet for food-related disasters. But seasonal, nice, serviceable clothes for around $30. I like those.

And I’ve been looking for a pair of black flats for a year now.

I keep trying to imagine a scenario in which shiny black shoes make sense on a camping trip—even a Florida camping trip—but so fair I got nothing. To and from the airport? Really? No, I admit. Probably not.

But I love this stage of trip planning, when you get to assemble outfits and try on those shorts you haven’t worn in six months and rummage through the closet, daydreaming about warm weather and tennis.

I hate to say I need a vacation, because of course there are lots of people working much harder than I am who don’t get to take vacations. But when I think about the gloominess of March in Michigan, the howling misery of rejection, and the lack of contented loveliness, then yes. We need a vacation.

We also need to pack and unpack and repack for DAYS if that’s what makes us happy. Squeezing every drop of enjoyment out of the process of selecting clothes and (my personal favorite) books for pool side reading.

I love choosing books for trips.

First the brainy, artsy book to make you feel smart. Maybe a collection of poems or a nonfiction zinger. Diary of someone thrilling and dead. A biography. Something like that.

Then the complementary fiction—a semi-frothy thriller or murder mystery or historical drama fest. Something fast-paced and easy, when your brain is slowly shutting off in the sunshine.

And, finally, the back up plan. The special interest book or how-to piece, or maybe sudoku or crossword puzzle book. Maybe a second fiction book, if you’re not 100% sure the first one is a keeper. Or if you’re sure it IS and you’re going to whip through it too fast.

I try not to pack more than 3 books. Sometimes I even succeed.

So far I’ve decided on the 2010 Best American Essays collection for my brainy book (a present from Carl for Valentine’s Day, which I’ve been carefully saving for Florida), and I’m not settled on my fiction yet. I was thinking Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, since I keep hearing good things, but then somebody said it was really disturbing (I believe Silence of the Lambs was mentioned), and I’m not really big on disturbing these days.

So I’m back to flipping through book lists.

I kind of want to read EVERYTHING on this book list from NPR. Juicy, delicious, bite-sized thanks to the letter format. And I’ve been seeing the books on this list (also from NPR) everywhere lately, so those might be good options. I don’t know.

I just know I love this part.


6 thoughts on “The Joys of Packing

  1. I hope you thoroughly enjoy every moment both of packing and of your vacation and that you even thin of the perfect reason to wear shiny black shoes on a camping trip.

  2. I’m sure you could find a reason for wearing those loving black shoes. I just love patent leather shoes!

    The Stig Larson books, (if you read one then you have to read the other two) are very well writen, but some of the scenes are awful. However I would rather read the book and skip over the sickening bits than watch the films. “The girl with the dragon tatoo” is about an outsider, who is at odds with her environment. You can somehow identify with her and hope she will win, which of course she does in the end. Larson would not have needed to make the book so violent and could have left out some of the sexual scenes. I think he must have been a very strange person himself to be able to write like that. But the story is full of suspense and the last book explains a lot how the girl came to be the way she was. It’s not a best seller for nothing!

    Anyway I wish the Armstrong clan a wonderful holiday together!

  3. Love your shoes too! Good thing you didn’t bring them to FL though with all that rain we had! So, what books did you end up taking?

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