16 November 2004


Now that our trip to the Netherlands looms on the very near horizon (two weeks), I'm officially beginning to panic about packing and logistics. Probably a good thing, since I tend to be very casual about traveling, packing little more than fresh underwear and a contact lens case. That works fine for domestic travel, but I suspect that I should be a bit more formal and thoughtful about spending a week in Amsterdam.

So I went to inspect my old luggage, which is a charming hue of dark green, isn't sporting any duct tape, and holds lots of stuff. I like to look in the big flap on the top to see what I wrote on the postcards I didn't send from my last fabulous destination. That's my MO: go to all the trouble of buying postcards, writing happy little things on them, addressing them, and usually even stamping them, then neglecting to mail any of them. Everybody needs a hobby.

But the last time I was in an airport I noticed that nobody uses these massive old suitcase any more. Apparently it's become mandatory for all luggage to be black, sleeky aerodynamic, and sport a long handle and wheels. My old suitcase doesn't even have wheels anymore.

So I panicked and called my mother, who is always flying off to some war-torn country or another doing things for her church (building houses, preventing forest fires, probably a lot of singing and praying, I don't really know the specifics) and asked her if she was in on the new style of luggage, and if so, if she would loan it to me next month so I don't get laughed out of the airport. She is, she does, and she will.

But I'm pretty sentimental about my old suitcase, though. You know how it is. That hunter green warhorse (and its contents) was all I had to my name when I performed the New England ritual of Running Away To California. More specifically, I did the old Dumping Your Significant Other of Many Years, Taking Up with an Older Man, Then Chasing Dumped Paramour Out to California And Trying to Win Back Trust. Worst six months of my damn life. And old Greeny was right there with me.

California and I didn't work out, neither did the attempted amorous reunion, and The Greenster and I schlepped back east to try grad school -- the last refuge of a scoundrel (I bet you thought it was something else! That just shows how much you know about grad school...). That affair met with moderate success, at least more success than the flame-out in California, and even allowed El Greenadino and me to haul ourselves to British Columbia and Austria at various times in pursuit of the perfect limestone.

And, sure enough, all those postcards are still there. So Greeny McQueeny is more than just an old, unfashionable suitcase. It's my old, unfashionable past, with little, photographic, three by five diary entries in the inside pocket. In the immortal words of Spinal Tap, How can I leave this behind?

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