Monday, November 29, 2010

Pack Man or Mispack Man?

Packing a bag for a vacation is the worst part of the vacation. It almost ruins the whole vacation. You put it off as long as you can. You’ll eat, you’ll exercise, you’ll call relatives, or you’ll do whatever. You may even find yourself cleaning your entire apartment the night before you leave, before you have even packed, because, apparently you would just hate to come back to a mess. You haven’t even left yet, and already you’re thinking about what will happen when you come back. Can’t you even relax for a second? Fuck! Why is it that the current present ‘you’ can live in this pig sty, but the future post vacation ‘you’ can’t put up with it for a second? What a condescending prick, all relaxed and vacationed and shit. Future Kevin thinks he is so much better than me. Why should I clean? He’s the one that just took a vacation.

Anyways, all of this procrastination stems partly from the fact that packing makes you feel stupid. You wind up losing the ability to perform even the simplest mathematical equations and arithmetic. Even worse, you start talking to yourself. You could be a mathmetologist for NASA and still need an old school abacus to pack for a three day retreat to some fucking log cabin. Out loud you say unto yourself:

“Ok, let’s see, I’m leaving tomorrow and coming back the following Tuesday. SooOOOooo, tomorrow is Friday and that means I need… eight pairs of underwear? Wait do I need to count tomorrow? Hmmm… I’ll already be wearing some tomorrow. Gee this is tough…”

Using the Harry Potter calendar on your wall and a solar powered calculator from high school, you come up with a number that seems right, but, regardless of your day count, the packing experience ends up becoming a frantic free for all, where you’re pretty much just trying to fit as much stuff into your bag as possible. Bringing a tube-top to a wedding in the Yukon? Why not?! Then the zipper on the bag won’t close, and you wind up having to cut some articles from the vacation team. The first few articles are always easy to cut.

“Yellow turtle neck? You’re cut, sorry, try again next vacation.”
“I guess I don’t need every pair of jeans that I own.”
“I suppose one bathrobe is enough.”
“I’m not exactly sure when I would even make use of this DICKEY.”

After that it’s more difficult and you wind up trying to figure out which sweat-stained half-ripped band t-shirt you absolutely need, or don’t need. You may like to tell yourself that you would do well in a desert island situation, but I think that inability to make decisions would probably do you in.

“Oh gosh, which plantain skins would make for a more durable beach hat? … hmmmm…”, thought the castaway, and then, out of nowhere, a monkey tried to eat his two eyeballs.

Imagine building a raft to try and sail back to the mainland and having to pack a desert island bag for that trip? You’d wind up cleaning up your base camp five times before choosing which coconut halves would make for better goggles, or earmuffs, or miniature helmets for your monkey. No, not the eyeball eater, it’s a different monkey. It’s a helper monkey.

“You never know, I just might wash up onto shore again, and I’d hate to come back to a mess.”

Moving right along.

So after carefully discriminating against the swimming trunks (you know you won’t end up in that god damn hotel pool anyways) and the extra pair of running shoes (you know you won’t end up at that god damn hotel gym anyways) the zipper still won’t close, and you take out more and more, almost at random now. You stand on top of the bag to zip it up, unknowingly causing your deodorant/lube/sunscreen/lotion/shampoo bottle to explode. Don’t worry. It will be a nice surprise when you arrive. Unfortunately, as you started discriminating, you completely lost track of the amount of each type of clothing that you actually will need, and you’ll end up with a dizzying array of assorted and mismatched items. Not enough underwears, too many socks. Not enough t-shirts, overload of pants. You get the idea.

I once went on a three day trip and managed to pack six pairs of underwear, three shirts, a single pair of socks and no pants, except for the pair of jogging pants that I travelled there in. By the third day, my pants stank like sweaty farty plane cushions and lightly fermented guacamole. I had a pair of underwear on each foot, due to the sock shortage and the only clean shirt that I had left was soaked in shampoo because the exploded two-in-one shampoo stored in the side pocket leaked into the main compartment. On the bright side, the fruity smell covered up the eerie stench of the jogging pants. Also, my shirt was so healthy looking it shined, and my chest hair never felt so soft! Anyways, needless to say, I did not get the job. Apparently, they went with a more experienced candidate. Personally, I think they smelled the Pert Plus and were looking for more of a Head and Shoulders or Dove kind of a guy. I guess what they say is true. Two-in-one shampoos just don’t work. Anyways, all of this got me thinking.

My solution is disposable one-piece jumpsuits. Not for all of the time, just for when you are travelling. It would make packing real easy. Five days, five jump suits. Even better, all hotels could start selling them, so you wouldn’t even need to pack. Just show up in a pair of boots and then buy as many as you need. Now, they should be loose enough to not show too much of one’s bits and pieces, but not so loose that they would blow up like a big ol’ balloon every time there is a big gust of wind. After all, we’d hate for people to take off like kites. Anyways, they’d kind of look like those HASMAT suits that the people wore in E.T. when they came to operate on him, except without the helmets and melodrama. Kids, never follow a trail of Reese’s Pieces into a stranger’s house. It will only lead to trouble.

But I digress.

Sure, jumpsuits would make tourists would stick out like sore thumbs, but at least it would make shit simple. And you can still make yourself stand-out by wearing snazzy dress shoes. So, no, not everyone would look the same. They’d have different shoes, and perhaps different hats. Different faces too, I guess. Until the jump suits become widely available (I’m working on a prototype), I would suggest that, after you’ve finished packing, throw in some extra underwears just in case. Even if you don’t end up using them like they are intended to be used, they can come in handy and fill a variety of other uses like handkerchief, bowtie, hat, sock, bathing suit, kite or flag (you know, in case you need to surrender to someone, you can just place white underwear at end of a branch and wave it around).

Even with my eventual jumpsuit solution, you’d still have to pack all of that other stuff that you take on vacation, like bathroom crap. But that’s the stuff you always throw in at the end, and usually forget anyways. Have you ever forgotten your toothbrush and had to ask at the front desk of a hotel for one of those disposable ones? Why the hell are they made so thin, and yet so fucking long? It’s like the toothbrush that a really delicate miniature pony might use to brush his teeth. Some of the toy toothbrushes come with powdered soap already on them. The assumption of course is that if you forgot your toothbrush, you obviously forgot your toothpaste. I’ve always found they look and taste a little suspicious. It’s like they sprinkled some Comet on the end of it. Maybe they are actually meant to be used by the cleaning staff for scrubbing stains off of the sheets and/or toilet seats.  Either way, try and remember your toothbrush.

“I’m sorry, I forgot my toothbrush, do have one of those little ones?”
“Sure, here. Careful, don’t hold it too hard, it might break in half. Also, here is some toilet cleaner, your breath really smells.”
“Thank you. Wow, what a quality toothbrush, I can actually count on my hands the number of bristles. There are four bristles, oh shit, it broke.”
“Here take a few more, we got buckets of them.”
“Do you have any glue? Maybe if I glue seven of them together, it will be a better brush.”

Is the toothbrush the only item that they have little toy store replacements for behind the desk? I bet they probably have some of those little combs too. I wonder if anyone has ever gone up to them and said that they forgot their enema. Surely it happens. Lord knows that we all tend to get backed up when we travel. To me, the need for a replacement enema would come up more often that the need for the shoe shine glove thing, or the sewing kit. Who fixes buttons on vacation?

“Honey, are you coming for dinner?”
“Hold on, I’ve got two more shirts to mend and then I need to shine my shoes.”

Anyways, I’d like to see what kind of MacGyver enema that they would come up with (e.g.: Funnel with a Gatorade filled water balloon). Actually, now that I think about it, most rooms already come with a laxative in the form of shitty hotel coffee and powdered dairy creamer. If that fails, hopefully you’re staying somewhere with the free continental breakfast, where anything is guaranteed to make you make the poop (like when you’re climbing up a ladder, and you feel something splatter).

Good thing you packed all of that extra underwear.

And is it just me, or are the shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, facial soap, moisturizer, etc. all just the same goopy mucus shit with a different label and bottle? In the end, sometimes it’s best to just stay home. Packing for that is easy. You’ve probably already done it. You can’t forget anything, because you’re already there. Not to mention, if you don’t leave, you won’t worry about coming home to a messy apartment and can continue to live in your current filthy nasty household. These are the kinds of things that I think about when I should be packing.

That’s it. I have a jump suit to try out.


  1. So that's why I get the squirts every time I stay in a hotel. Case closed.
    P.S. I can't pack either. Nor can the future version of me. And my wife refuses to do it. Therefore, you should know that you are not the only guy traveling who smells of lightly fermented guacamole.

  2. I'm still trying to figure out what is worse, being backed up on vacation or having the runs.

  3. I can pack like a champ but ONLY on the way to my destination. All my clothes gain weight while on vacation and so when it's time to put everything away, it NEVER works. I have to like steal pillow cases and stuff shit in there.



  4. Most of this has happened to me. Except the dickey. That did not.

  5. Maybe shoulder pads for your best blazer then?

  6. Don't forget coats. Going from colder to warmer places sucks because you're stuck wearing the wrong thing when you get off the plane.

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