That Awkward One Week, OR Thoughts on Packing and Some etcs

I’ll be in New York City this Saturday afternoon. The last week home before I go anywhere is always the worst:

1) I can’t be too excited about leaving without insulting my family (who happen to think they’re really, really fun people, even while they’re watching news channels for three hours straight and eating strawberries).

2) I’m not even sure if I am that excited, since (and I fully admit this) I’m lazy like you would not believe.

3) I really hate airports  — they smell like the dentist’s.

4)  I really love airports because goddamn, where else do people dress like such slobs that you look comparatively glorious almost by default?

5) My to-do list is about a million items long, on account of all the last-minute details I have to check — how to get from the airport to Penn Station and from Penn Station to SoHo, what I’m supposed to be wearing to the office ( I was told business-casual with a fashion-y edge, but what does that even mean, and can I even do that without looking try-hard and stupid), and my personal favorite, where to buy a goddamn pillow without spending a small fortune.

And on top of that, number 6: I hate packing shit into luggage.

I’m ridiculously bad at packing. Really, really bad. I think it has something to do with complete lack of spatial reasoning. When I was little, someone gave me one of those little things that you’re supposed to take apart and put back into the shape of a perfect cube, and I’m pretty sure I got mad at it and smashed it against a wall. I don’t understand how you’re supposed to fold up three thousand cubic meters of stuff and have it fit it into a standard-size carry-on. We’re talking prodigious amounts of compression here.

Some people have a gift for it. The other week, one of my friends helped me stuff a makeup bag sideways into a carry-on I thought had been filled to capacity three pairs of pants ago (it turns out I was wrong). Some people — and by some people I mean me — get in trouble with a series of disgruntled flight attendants for overestimating success at compression and are asked to kindly remove whatever they can from their suitcase before stowing it overhead.

This has happened. More frequently than I’d like to admit.

I am, however, weirdly good at putting the contents of a dorm room into cardboard boxes. Something about the straight-edged, square regularity of those boxes makes it that much easier for me to handle them. I can put way more things into one cardboard box than I really should be, and I answered for it about two weeks ago with a sprained foot on the staircase. It was a fun time. But actually.

The big brown box in the foreground? That’s the one that murdered me. My mortal enemy. We shall meet again in the spring of 2013 when I go pick it up from storage.

So they gave me a golf cart! (I say gave; really, they charged me 35 bucks for two and a half days’ use of it.) I promptly named it Marvin (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, holla), and it was probably the vehicle love of my life. No doors, no windows, two seats, and only just enough space for my crutches in the little rack in the back. Totally silent. Crept up on bikers and walkers without so much as a low, electric buzz. Would rattle downhill at an alarming pace and creep back up so slowly that it’d slide back a bit if I so much as removed a single gram of pressure from the GO pedal. (It had a GO pedal. And a STOP pedal. Like some kind of toy instead of an actual car.) I drove at least seven different friends around in it and felt like Branson from Downton Abbey. Each night, I’d lock Marvin up, plug him in, and feed him from an outlet. It was the best thing I ever got out of a box-packing incident.

They’re not going to give me a golf cart for being able to pack luggage for the airport.

They should.

So this is where I am now — out of my dorm room, at home, figuring out what I need to take with me for 10 weeks in New York City, defying the rules of mass and volume to store them in suitcases, and missing golf cart Marvin like crazy (because, goddammit, driving my mother’s van just isn’t the same).

This is the most attached I’ve ever been to an inanimate object, I swear. At least, until I chance upon a first edition Byron in London and have no choice but to sell my soul for it. That’s attachment.

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