That Which You Will Do and Probably Not

Right now I’m in gooder intentions.

The day before a trip to the in-laws involves a number of phases: good intentions, denial, acceptance, gooder intentions, greater denial. All these phases involve packing.

I’ve traveled enough that I have the clothes part of packing down to a science: lay out what you think you’ll need, then put half of it back where it came from. This is especially true when we are traveling by train and are only staying a few days. Once we get to the in-laws, we break out the house clothes we’ve left there and become part of the furniture. More than a couple changes of clothes are not necessary.

And even the “couple” part might be extreme. I usually have what I’m wearing plus one change of clothes. There is an instinct in the women in She Who Must Be Obeyed’s family to treat dirty laundry like my mother treats bugs: they are all bad until made good. And the sooner they are made good the better. This means that bugs are killed quickly and laundry is done frequently. It is possible, depending on how quickly things dry, to wear the same outfit every day and have it be freshly cleaned and folded each time.

The other part of packing involves good intentions about what I’m actually going to accomplish while I’m there. For various complicated reasons, I often end up being left by myself whilst the others run off on various errands. My goal is to always fill this time with something productive: writing, editing, Japanese study, reading, meditation, etc.

With that in mind, I take a few things to do and, because I’m in denial, add a few other things to do because the pile of things to do looks small. Then acceptance hits and I take a few things out and feel a sense of accomplishment and grown-upedness (a technical term).  But then gooder intentions hits followed quickly by greater denial and I put stuff back in my travel bag.,

Once I’m at the in-laws, for the first day or so I actually take the stuff out and look at them. What usually happens after that is I carry the stuff around and do very little with it.

However, part of the greater denial phase is the overwhelming sense that this time things will be different.

I’m sure they will be, so I’m taking a few extra things to do.

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