We’re traveling to Ireland for a week to see our daughter who is studying abroad and I’m stress-packing. I’ve already started a pile of things I need to take. A gift for a local friend, our daughter’s birthday present, a kit filled with electric plugs so that our devices can remain charged. Now I’ll start packing clothes. Besides the fact that everything I own is at least 5 years old and I hate it all, I don’t know how to select the best things to take. “It rains everyday,” our daughter says. So, boots? They take up too much room. I need to have shoes that can get wet, or multiple pairs so I always have something dry to put on. Shoes for pants. Shoes for a skirt or dressy dinner? Now I have a row of shoes in my packing pile. I ’m starting to sweat.
It’s November, so it’s going to be cold – and wet. Oh geez, that makes it feel colder. And we’re going to walk around outside. A coat to go with jeans, one for being more dressed up, and a light jacket in case there’s a warm day. The Weather Channel says there can be a warm day. Coats and a windbreaker join my pile. I’m quivering a little.
Good ol’ layering – that’s what I need to do. Out come the turtlenecks, pullovers, long underwear. I need to be ready for a really cold day too. Looking at the pile I realize I can’t wear the brown pants with a gray sweater and a blue top. So I start pulling out all of my black clothes. This seems more cosmopolitan. Or European. Or like I’m going to an undertaker’s convention. But maybe if I work in a colorful scarf to break-up the black? My head hurts.
I have filled my suitcase, then turn to find a stack the size of an ottoman that isn’t packed yet. I’ve forgotten toiletries. I’ve got to start over, re-thinking what I really need. I’m momentarily distracted by the idea that I can carry on a second bag – wait, I don’t have a second bag.
One of the little known perks of being an astronaut must be that they don’t have to pack for the trip themselves. A cast of rocket scientists have determined what goes on the ship, and ensures they are outfitted for every potential circumstance. The astronaut just zips up that one spacesuit and trots into the cabin, waving at the cameras.