Tuesday, October 19, 2010


We took a short trip to visit family last week in a lah-di-dah city in the South.  It's a big, flashy, former confederate stronghold, but we were just going to be there a couple of days, visit family, and see a couple of sights.  We ended up visiting the Margaret Mitchell House and the Martin Luther King, Jr Center, which makes an interesting juxtiposition. 

But this post is not about that.

Some of you might know that the airline lost our luggage.  Or at least, they mislaid it, for the duration of our (short) stay.  I remember wandering around the airport, dazed, for about an hour last Wednesday, not really believing that our luggage was gone.  The baggage people kept saying, "Huh.  It came in, and it should be on carousel X."  But it wasn't there.   As they themselves could clearly tell.

I had a few things in that bag, as did my husband.  I liked some of those clothes, and I had a mini-grief session, thinking that they might be gone forever.  To tell the truth, though, nothing in the suitcase was really irreplaceable, except for the half-knitted sock.  (Ah, the half-knitted sock!)  We got by on the trip by buying just a couple of things, which we then squished back into our carry-ons.

This made me muse:  I think that I significantly overpacked for the trip.  I thought that I needed much more than I actually did need. I can justify myself by saying that I wasn't sure about the weather, or some other such nonsense, but the reality is, that I am just used to having more around than I need.  I'm used to getting to choose whether I want to wear the green shirt or the peach shirt.   So I threw in more than I really needed to have.

I wonder if this is not true about life as well.  Some of us pack more than we need.   But the more we have, the more we can lose.  I thought about that.  The thought of "losing" what we own can make us anxious. 

I was watching my dog Scout the other day.  She has very few possessions, and she's a pretty happy dog.  But this day she had caught a mouse, and she wanted to make sure that she didn't lose the mouse.  Then she displayed a rare fit of anxiety, as she moved the mouse from place to place, looking furtively around to make sure we didn't take it away.

Maybe anxiety increases the more you own.  I don't know.  It's something to think about.

So one thing I discovered last week was that I really didn't need all the things I packed.  I certainly had just as much fun, even though I only had the green shirt, and the black shirt, even though I didn't have the peach shirt and the blue shirt. 

The other thing:  dead mice are only good companions, really, for a couple of days.


Ivy said...

Agreed--we are too tied to our possessions. BTW, I never thought about a dog catching a mouse--EWWWW.

Crimson Rambler said...

oh boy... I am on the last leg, almost, of a road trip, and most heartily sick and tired of my Great Big Suitcase... I thought, "I'm not flying, I don't have to travel light" -- forgot I had to haul that thing to and fro, up and down stairs...ugh, ugh, ugh.
You are SO right.

LoieJ said...

We've been on two major trips in the last month, one driving 1500 miles and the other flying, then driving 1200 miles. On the first one, I took a bit more than I needed, mostly because the weather could vary and because we planned to camp a few nights as well as stay mostly in motels. Different things were needed for these activities. That really ups what one must take.

On the second trip, we each took a bag that was checked. Boy, that cost a lot: $100 total. I doubt that we even had $100 worth of clothing, except for the shoes and my prescriptions. But we don't have carry on bags the right size to get by with that. Our carry on bags are small backpacks for our immediate needs and my camera.

So I also was reflecting on what was really "needed." I wore my pants and shirts several times each. I aired them out well, so they didn't stink, which is always my major worry. So I used everything except my swim suit. I guess I learned that I could get by at home with doing the wash less often.

There is something to be said for having fewer choices. I always liked the somewhat smaller grocery stores better than the mega-grocery stores for that reason. I really don' t need to walk so far in such a big store just to see 47 kinds of pickles and 52 loaves of 29 kinds of bread. I'd rather shop in a smaller store and figure, well, if they don't have it, I don't need it.

Lots of choices don't make my life easier or happier.

Billie Greenwood said...

Perhaps the Beatitudes are literally true: Happy/blessed are the poor. Lots to think about here.