Do you like to shop? I don’t. I like to go and buy the things I need, checking them off a list as I go along from store to store, not doing any comparison shopping or wielding coupons. I mean, it’s not because I’m rich or anything, but I’ve felt that time is more valuable than anything else– time is the one thing you can’t see, and so I’m loath to squander it.
So, to make this as streamlined as possible, I’ve made a list of all the things I will need to bring to Italy in mid-July, which is cross-referenced to the things I’ll need to bring to North Dakota when we go there in early July for Kirk’s family reunion. (A lot of people running around with pudding.) Since I will have only two days between trips, with one day devoted to work, I will have only one day to do laundry and then transfer items from the North Dakota list to the Italy list. The laundry day– a Wednesday– will also serve as my shopping day, to replenish the things that I will have used up while in Bismarck listening to Sigurd Henriksen tell about the time the chickens danced in a circle under a full moon.
And my lists are exhaustive; there’s not a place on my body that doesn’t need some sort of attention and something to shop for: ears, eyes, nose, teeth, fingernails… with all the rigmarole, you would think that I was somehow going to conjure a replica of myself and then send him on vacation. Maybe I should! This way the REAL me can sit in the back yard here in Winter Park while the FAKE me deals with customs and Helen Olsen telling about the time she used bad eggs in her meringue and ended up poisoning the entire Lutheran choir.
I do need some clothes, but not many. I tend to dress simply and preppily, which means that everything sort of looks the same. You bring a handful of solid color Lacostes with you, they can last three weeks… Still, just to be sure, I suggested to my second cousin once removed, Nicola, what clothes I should bring for an Italian July: shorts, a set of dress clothes for Mass, tee shirts, and jeans? “Perfect,” he said, and then checked with his grandmother (my first cousin once removed). Giuseppina also suggested a “swimming costume,” and I immediately pictured myself dressed as a mermaid, or Popeye– you know, something nautical. I certainly am not going to be able to get into the candy-striped number I cavorted around in circa 1984 at Lido di Camiore, so perhaps I should bring along the notorious red shorts featured a few blogs previous. Just what are stylish middle-aged men wearing to the Italian shore these days? Maybe we won’t even get to the beach; who can say? Maybe it should be a surprise. If it turns out that men are wearing fishnet bikinis, however, I’m staying at the house!
So I’ll soon be in Target with my lists, looking for tiny bottles of shampoo and toothpaste and roll-on, and miniature packages of Q-tips. And isn’t it amazing how expensive those miniatures are? And I need things like batteries and contact lens solution, which is something you need a LOT of, but the airlines only allow you a thimbleful. Then I need my allergy medicines, and some sort of preventative against germs and colds because we all know that it’s everyone ELSE on the plane wheezing and sniffing and sneezing and spreading toxins. Think about that for a minute– there’s no new air coming into a plane, so you breathe recirculated air. At least in the days of smoking, the nicotine killed everyone’s germs!
In the final analysis, knowing myself as well as I do, there’s a good chance that my adult-onset ADHD will kick in and I will grow bored of my lists and needs, leaving everything to do the night before the trip. You’ll probably find me in Wal-Mart at three a.m., wrestling the last miniature tube of Pepsodent from the hands of someone who desperately needs that toothpaste more than I do. And that’s probably all I’ll end up traveling with– but at least customs will be a breeze!