Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Did You Remember to Unpack Your Suitcase?

Almost all of us have done it. We've been back from vacation for a week or two and wondered, "Hey, I can't find that pair of shoes?" Or, "What happened to that one shirt? I haven't seen it in a while." Or, "How can I be out of clean underwear already? I'm going to have to either do laundry today or go to the store and buy some new ones."

Why are we asking these questions? Because we forgot to unpack the suitcase.

A suitcase full of surprises.

When you get back from vacation, there are certain things that you make your priority. You unload the car. You take everything out of the cooler and put it in the refrigerator (where you ignore it for a week or two before throwing it all away because it might have been in the cooler a bit too long and you aren't quite sure if you trust that everything in there stayed cold enough to not go bad.) You sleep in your own bed. (There's no overrating how great it is to get back to your own bed after a vacation!) You shower in your own shower.

And, within the first day or two, you gather all of the dirty clothes from your vacation and start to do laundry. Why? Because you're going to need some clean clothes to wear. (And you want to be sure there aren't any nasty surprises, like a wet swimsuit.)

What you're not likely to do is unload the suitcase that still has clean clothes that you didn't use on vacation in it. Why? Because it's pretty easy to ignore that they exist. You took them on vacation, but you didn't use them, rendering them unimportant and forgettable until several days (or weeks) later when you are searching for your missing shoes.

I say that most people do this, but not all. There are two categories of people who don't forget to unpack their suitcase: 1) The super-organized people who unpack everything as soon as they walk in the door from vacation. To them, vacation isn't truly over until every last thing is put away. (These people are annoying.) (Well-organized, but annoying.) And, B) The living-on-the-edge people who take absolutely as little as possible on their vacation. These are the people who don't pack any extra clothes at all--just the bare minimum for the number of days they are traveling. They want their suitcase packed as minimally as possible, even if it means wearing the same shirt (or underwear) two (or more) days in a row. Yes, it makes for a less full suitcase, but I wouldn't recommend it, especially if you have kids. (Expecting a toddler to keep one set of clothes clean enough to wear all day long is three steps beyond optimistic to the point of being delusional.)

Why do most of the rest of us pack a few extra things? Because we don't know if we're going to need long pants or shorts. (Look at the weather report to guide you all you want--everyone knows those things aren't trustworthy.) We'll pack that jacket we don't need, or that extra shirt or two. And then, when we got home, we'll forget all about them.

And when we finally do remember to unpack that last suitcase, we're not 100% sure what to think about the clothes that are in it. Are we sure they're clean? Maybe some dirty clothes got mixed in with them. We just don't trust them. (Much like the food we brought home in the cooler--it's probably good, but we're not absolutely positive.) So, we wash all the clothes, whether they need it or not. (Of course, none of this would be a problem if we were just well-organized and/or annoying and put everything away the second we walk through the door. But that's not going to happen. At least, not until we get a good night's sleep in our own bed.)


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