Alcoholics Anonymous assists alcoholics in their journey to achieving sobriety. I am in desperate need of a Packers Anonymous. I can envision myself now at a meeting, "My name is Daphne Lockett and I have an excess baggage problem". Any psychiatric analysis would discover three deep-seated underlying issues leading to my affliction - "What If Syndrome ", "Double Up Disorder" and the more common "What Will They Think Malady".
The severity of my "Double Up Disorder" presents in direct proportion to the number of "what ifs" with which I am plagued. What if the weather gets colder? Simple! Double up on the number of sweaters. What if my shoes get wet. Simple! Double up on the number of shoes. What if my top, pants, jacket, scarf or whatever get stained. Simple! Double up on..........you get the point. What I yearn for is one of the old steamer trunks from the Grand Tour era.
Most embarrassing is that I have suffered from the "What Will They Think Malady". This confession is difficult. What will they think if they see me in the same outfit more than once? Honestly, I need to get over myself. As if each hotel guest or restaurant patron is taking careful note of what I am wearing??? And if they do, who cares?
Such has been my excess packing on previous trips that I wonder why customs officials in visited countries didn't question my "visitor" designation. Having packed everything but the proverbial kitchen sink, was I not in truth seeking landed immigrant status?
My affliction is most onerous for Jim. Being the gentleman he is, he insists on heaving my overweight luggage off airport carousels, onto upper train baggage racks and up narrow stairs in charming little European inns without elevator service. And so, to save my husband from any further muscle strain or even a hernia, I have finally decided to amend my ways.
Rick Steves, the American travel guru, in his gem of a book, "Europe Through The Back Door", dedicates a whole chapter to packing light. His self-imposed limit is 20 pounds in a 9" by 22" by 14" carry-on size bag. Really, Rick? I could do that for an overnight stay. Gotta love the lady, who at one of his lectures and in response to his announced self-imposed limit, yelled, "That's just my cosmetics bag!" My goal for this trip, though, is 30 pounds. I wander the house repeatedly muttering to myself the old mantra, " Take half the clothes and twice the money".
And so, should you phone, visit or email, let the phone ring longer, ring the doorbell twice, just wait for my email response. This reformer is most likely to be found in the back bedroom, surveying the clothes I have laid out on the bed and asking myself, "Do I really need you?"