I think of you often. In fact, each time I have to stand in line to take off my jacket and boots and empty my pockets and pull my laptop out of its carrying case and show the world which brand of toothpaste I use, I think of you and mentally curse your name. I thought of you last year, too, after I broke my wrist while camping in northern Oregon and my purple cast put every airport I passed through on high alert.
I was thinking of you again this morning while packing the single suitcase I’m allowed to check on my transatlantic flight home. It used to be two checked bags, but now—thanks to you and the airline troubles you helped cause—American Airlines is allowing me only one.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be thinking of you again, Osama, because then I’ll be packing my husband’s suitcase, and everything that didn’t fit in mine has to go in his. You see, Osama, my husband and I have a wonderful division of labor: I pack the bag and he sits on it so I can close the zipper.
We generally travel light. But on this seven-week trip to the United States we had to pack for hot weather and cold. And beside our clothes, there’s the winter wardrobe for both our Jerusalem grandchildren that our daughter-in-law ordered on-line and expects us to bring back. And the 4-lb. jar of chocolate-covered raisins that my family is addicted to. And the fish oil and glucosamine that are much cheaper in the US than in Israel. And the heavy winter shirts my husband bought as gifts for his friends. And all the books we picked up along the way. And that’s not mentioning the car and motorcycle parts without which no visit to the US would be complete.
I recently saw a video of a former flight attendant packing three days’ worth of clothes in a carry-on bag for a vacation in the Bahamas. I was impressed by how much she was able to cram into that tiny bag, though I couldn’t for the life of me understand why she needed six pairs of shoes, five dresses, four jackets, six blouses, four skirts, three bathing suits, and three pool cover-ups. She succeeded in her amazing feat by rolling up the clothes.
I tried that while packing my bag this morning. Whether it was effective I can only hope, because I didn’t take everything out again and start again to compare it to the old-fashioned way.
But some items were left over. Tomorrow morning, Inshallah Osama, they will fit in my husband’s bag with all the other stuff (though from the size of the pile it’s looking doubtful). If it doesn’t all fit, my dear Osama, you will have even more to answer for.
Text and photo copyright 2010 by Esther Hecht. No part of the text or photo may be used without written permission of the author.