Thursday, March 3, 2016

I don't know how many underpants to pack!

There’s a great Doonesbury comic I think of often. Joanie Caucus is packing to start law school at Berkeley, and she freaks to Zonker, “I don’t know if I’ve got enough toothpaste!” He calmly, Zonker-ishly replies, “Don’t you think there are probably drug stores out there?” And this is Joanie’s response:
“I don’t know! I don’t know what the drug store situation is like out there in California! I’ve got to be prepared!”
Whenever I pack for a trip, I think of Joanie. Ridiculously, because this time, I know the drug store situation in New York. I visit New York twice a year. So why am I having conversations with myself like this:

“How many underpants should I pack!?! I don’t want to get stuck doing laundry too often, but I don’t want to run out.” (Never mind that the apartment comes with a laundry, as does my mother’s place.)

“How much contact lens solution do I need!?!” And this despite measuring how many ounces I needed when we were in New Orleans for ten days. This is complicated by the Costco factor: I own big containers of contact lens solution, and I’m always reluctant to transfer them. You never know if your transfer container is as sterile as it’s supposed to be.
Tim spied me adding my pumpkin flax cereal to the bag, but I don’t know what the grocery store situation is like in Manhattan!! I know Manhattan as a visitor. The whole reason for this trip is to know it as a resident, but that may take a while, and I’ll want my pumpkin flax cereal for breakfast. With raisins.

This whole thing is mystifying me. Where did all this goofiness come from? I have gone to other countries for months and traveled the U.S. nomadically for an entire summer, never knowing where I was going to sleep. Here I’m going to a place with no currency exchange, a place I have visited often, a place where I already have my own personal subway map, several relatives, and a laptop with Google.

I think it’s because I am just incredibly excited!


  1. You'll have a wonderful time -- try going commando!!

    1. Okay, I think I have the underpants situation covered. Should have brought a few spices for cooking, but I did remember my CORKS for our project!

  2. I went to Japan as a student for 4 months and I remember one girl had a huge amount of tampons in her suitcase. I thought she was silly. Turns out she was wise. Also, some took up space to pack a towel (!). Turns out Japanese towels (at least in 1963) were about the size and weight of American kitchen hand towels. Didn't cover much! Recently driving on a trip with my son in the Dakotas one night I expressed a little anxiety about finding a place to sleep. He said, "Mom, this is easy! They speak English!" Oh, yeah. Forgot.

    1. Hey, at least in our Third Thirds, we can forget the tampons! And here in NY, the signs are all in English, too. Thanks for this!


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