Thursday, November 11, 2010
Please tell me you've seen Joe Versus The Volcano. It's a fine piece of cinema and the most adorable example of the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan chemistry we all used to know and love. If you've seen it, you'll understand why I had to take a photo of this trunk in the window of Louis Vuitton in Vienna. Joe was going to jump in a volcano, and therefore needed good luggage. In fact, (SPOILER ALERT FOR A MOVIE FROM 1990!) the luggage eventually saves Joe's life.
Our luggage, on the other hand, nearly killed us on our trip. You know how people say you should pack light when you travel, especially overseas? It turns out that they were not only serious about that, but completely accurate. Lugging around your stuff, even stuff you love, sucks like a Hoover. When I packed a couple of extra shirts in my bag, they weighed only a fraction of an ounce. By the time I'd transferred them on and off two airplanes, two trains, two taxis and one bus, they weighed 23 pounds. Each.
Before he packed his bags, Ryan downloaded travel guru Rick Steve's recommended packing list. It basically said to bring two shirts, one jacket, a pair of pants and a toothbrush. Oh, and some clean underwear if you're into that sort of thing. Ryan puzzled over the list for a few minutes, then tossed it over his shoulder and said, "That guy's an idiot."
Oh, Rick Steves. We repent and grovel and request thy forgiveness.
Ryan realized pretty quickly of his mistake and tried to warn me, since I was joining him later, but the thing about life is that you really can't avoid some of the big mistakes just because people wiser and more experienced than you tell you in exact, step-by-step detail how to avoid them.
Dear Self of Early October, CURSE YOU AND YOUR AMPLE VARIETY OF WELL COORDINATED OUTFITS! Auf Wiedersehen, Mid-October Self.
To add insult to injury (or backache to arm ache), I picked up some fragile souvenirs that were made out of ceramic and (apparently) lead. That tube of mustard I blogged about? It weighs 108 pounds. The bags just kept getting heavier and heavier. And with every heave and ho, we smacked our foreheads with more and more resentment.
The next time around, we will be so wise. We will print out a new Rick Steves packing list and we will hold it lovingly in our arms. We will study it and honor it and follow it with the exactness. And when we are tempted to put that extra t-shirt into our tiny suitcase, the one that is begging to be worn overseas and immortalized in vacation photos, we will say to that extra t-shirt, "Go jump in a volcano."