Today, I wrote a friend for advice about packing. I’ll be going from Virginia to Nashville to New York City, after which I’ll be flying to Rome for three weeks. My friend mentioned that his wife takes up more than her share of their suitcase, because she believes men don’t need as many clothes. I wouldn’t consider sharing a suitcase with my husband. It’s disappointing enough to see your Jockey sports bra in another country—it looks so sad in hotel rooms abroad (bad pun!). How much sadder, then, to find it entangled amid chargers, extension cords, computer cords, unwound dental floss (how would I know how that happened? Big hello, though, to my dental hygienist), earphones, noise-canceling headphones, dangling cords, and bungee cords (you never can tell). I’d be hugely foiled trying to extract my underwear. Who wants to deal with a bunch of cords doing the kudzu around a bra when Caravaggio beckons?
Though it seems to be common knowledge, I just discovered that it’s best to roll everything. Ankle boots are all-purpose, and you can roll delicate stuff into them with your socks. It’s the packing version of making a jelly roll (okay, you wouldn’t plunge a jelly roll into your boot). When you remove the boots, empty them right away. Santa spoiler alert: the next morning you might find (rolled up) twenty dollars in the toe!
What to bring? There are already numerous articles about all-purpose wrinkle-free clothes you can layer (I’ve already made one cooking analogy, so I’ll avoid talking about being human phyllo dough), along with “versatile” scarves (that adjective won’t go away until scarves do), dangly earrings that conduct heat (patent pending), and lipstick that doubles as eye shadow. You can also line your eyes with a no. 2 pencil (kidding!) and wear your boot shoehorn as a bolo tie, improvised from one of your husband’s cords. My tips below are helpful primarily for writers, but absolutely anyone, cis-writered or not, might benefit:
Ann Beattie’s short story “Ruckersville” appears in our Fall Issue. She is the author, most recently, of The Accomplished Guest. Read her Art of Fiction interview.
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