My husband has two 25-inch hard-cover stroller luggage bags, gray and green, splayed open on the queen guest bed. One bag is to carry clothes for his 6 feet and 3 inches frame; the second one is for our 15-year old son who is already 6 feet tall. Dad and son fought for the green one and I don’t know who won. These bags will accompany us on our upcoming 10-day Europe vacation. Son is at a summer camp, returning on the night before we leave—so dad is trudging through his packing too.
He is running from the ironing board to the guest room with armfuls of shorts and T-shirts. I tell him to pack a pair of jeans for the Vatican visit and he flounces back to son’s closet, bringing back 3 pairs.
He always errs on the side of over packing, having to trim down after the scale test that I mandate before flights. I hate it when our luggage crosses 50 pounds at the airport and we have to shuffle things around under the staff’s judgmental eyes.
But I don’t influence his packing as much as I used to. After 17 years of marriage, only some battles are worth the fight.
“10 days. At least, 12 or 14 shirts? It will be hot and sweaty.Now how many did I pack already”, He takes them out and starts counting again.
“Socks! Look the boy has all of them torn at the toes. Doesn’t ever clip his nails.”
“There’s no room for sandals now!”
I sit relaxed on the couch and continue browsing TripAdvisor for things-to-do and skip-the-line tickets while he unfolds and refolds the clothes to compress them enough to fit the bags.
“Why did you iron them? Your heavy hands would squeeze out the wrinkles anyway. You should consider folding clothes at Abercrombie and Fitch stores in your free time or give Martha Stewart some classes. Such a folder you are!” I enjoy sprinkling benign pepper that he brushes off. Something I can’t do that easily.
“Why are you not packing, by the way”, he asks after some time.
“Oh, mine won’t take 5 minutes”, I say and leave the room to fill in my small cabin-size bag.I return after about 10 minutes triumphantly, my bag in tow.
“Is that it for you? Such a small bag? ” he asks with a mix of skepticism and jealousy in his voice.
“Little people, little clothes, little needs, little baggage.I can fold my legs on the airplane’s narrow seat and doze off while you stretch your long legs in the aisle only to be admonished by the flight attendant. You know that is so embarrassing”, I extol the virtues of my small (barely 5-feet) dimensions, although all my life, I've wished I had couple more inches so I wouldn’t have to stand on my toes to reach ticket windows.
“Little people, ironically, have always been the bosses of me”, he says zipping up both the bags shut and standing them upright.