If you need me, I’ll be the naked guy drinking coffee on the beach.

January 31, 2010

My entire existence has been reduced to 20 kilograms. Forty-four pounds. That’s it. That’s me.

A return to journalism means yet another move. The good news is I’ll be out of the seniors’ care home laundry and, fingers crossed, will no longer have to worry about shaking hands with a fresh turd.

The bad news is, well, 44 pounds.

That’s my baggage limit for the flight — everything I value needs to be crammed into one lousy suitcase. Where do I even start?

My first choice would be to take 44 pounds of coffee but that doesn’t leave any room for clothes. Of course, after consuming that much caffeine, I’d be moving so fast, no one would notice I was naked.

I don’t have to worry about electronics because those toys for boys will be safely stored in my carry-on. This whole not being permitted to lock your suitcase thing is a bit of a joke, really, because it’s less about security and more about making it easier for baggage handlers to go all garage sale on your stuff.

“Hey, does this digital camera look like a bomb to you? Yeah, me too. Think I’ll save lives by taking it home.”

My theory for packing is this: do not put anything in a suitcase you’re not willing to never see again.

If I was simply off to play tourist, the decisions would be much easier: clothes and toiletries. But I’m moving. I’ll need pens and notebooks and my scissors and my spare glasses and my favourite deodorant and a whole bunch of AA batteries. Because things will be expensive at my destination and I won’t be making a lot of money.

And then there’s the whole weight-to-bulk ratio. I look at my list of preferred items and realize the lighter objects take up a lot of room and the smaller ones are heavy. I’m not sure this is going to work. Even with my one allowed piece of carry-on and my man purse and every pocket crammed full, I have this sinking feeling I will have to jettison something I dearly want to take.

At that point, I will hand the entire operation over to Viking Woman, who is slated to follow me at a later date.

She is an expert at spatial relations. You know those tests where they show you different objects and ask which one matches the other except it’s turned inside out and backwards? And sideways. Underwater.

Viking Woman can answer those. She has filled the back of our hatchback so efficiently with a million things that you’d swear the car came that way straight from the factory’s assembly line.

I, on the other hand, am hopeless. I’m lucky if I can fit my foot into my shoe, never mind 44 pounds of my life into a suitcase.

The main difference between us is that I’m sentimental, which is why Orange Monkey, who has guarded my pillow for years, is on my list. I also tend to take three of everything, even though I know perfectly well I will only need one.

Viking Woman is — how shall I put this — pretty much ruthless. Which means Orange Monkey will not be leaving the house at this time. Which means the culling of precious objects will be methodical and logical and oh so cruel.

I will rant. I will stomp my tiny feet in rage and frustration. I will throw up my hands and flee the room, screaming. But, in the end, everything essential to my new life will fit in that suitcase and it will weigh exactly 44 pounds.

And it will have been packed with love.

The most important thing I could ever take with me, and it doesn’t weigh a single ounce.

Told you she was good.


One Response to “If you need me, I’ll be the naked guy drinking coffee on the beach.”

  1. Hi John,
    As much as I’m enjoying your photos – it’s good to read something written by you.
    I forgot to reply to you last week and say well done on the job. And I’m really really not too jealous of you living back there.
    Check out my blog today – there’s something that might interest you 🙂

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