Monday, August 20, 2012

The Bag of Holding

Time was when I was the one who went overboard in terms of packing. I regularly walked around like a mini-MacGyver, going around campus with a Swiss Army knife, a Leatherman, and a mini-Maglite, and that was just the standard every day wear for me. Heading off the beaten path required me to take just about everything I could think of just in case (To be fair, a number of times some of those 'just in case's' actually happened and I was damn glad that I was prepared).   

For example, when packing for what was supposed to be a three day trip to the Bay Area in the early summer, I brought along 4 changes of clothes, plus some cold weather gear, just in case, and had a sleeping bag and a jug of water in the back of the car, just in case.

I've gotten better, I'm now able to go to the US for a week and a half with just the contents of a carry-on (Coming back is a different story, but that's shopping).

Now Beloved, back in the day, was pretty much the opposite. Where I had a rather large day pack as a backpack for school, she carried a small purse. Her luggage consisted of a rather small carry on bag meant for very small overheads on Japanese trains. Camping, where I would pack just about every bit of gear I owned, just in case, saw her with barely enough to cover her and that was about it.

I remember one trip to Yosemite where 97% of the stuff was mine, her's fit underneath her legs in the front seat.

Then we had the boys. It's amazing how much stuff kids need.

What's even more amazing is that somehow mothers get access to bags of holding. That is the ONLY thing I can come up with to describe the so called 'diaper' bags that mothers cart around with them. My wife carts this over the shoulder bag that looks somewhat like a large purse, but in reality seems to have the holding capacity of two or three pack mules. With just a bit of rummaging, she is able to produce at least 2 complete changes of clothes for both boys in proper sizes, 5 towels (When dealing with two small boys, one needs towels), a host of various medications for car sickness, bug bites, sun screen, or headaches, a make-up kit, various documentations for he boys to show what shots they have had and when as well as their current heights and weights, her wallet, the boy's wallet, a two day supply of food, cups, forks, spoons, and chopsticks for the boys, more beauty supplies, diapers, wipes, and hand sanitizers, and quite possibly the Crown Jewels of England and the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan. All of which still fit under her legs in the front seat of the car.

And I thought I was good at packing.

But it's not enough. Every trip we now take requires that the back of the minivan be stuffed full of more items: kid chairs, toys, books, food, water, more clothing, more towels, CDs, DVDs, and the Tokyo Opera Company (They keep the boys entertained on long drives).

Why, I ask my beautiful beloved wife, must we take all of this stuff on a simple over night trip?

Well, she replies, just in case...


  1. Great piece, my wife and I typically travel light, but now we pack like soldiers prepared for any kid event/emergency.

    Family stuff is just funny sometimes. I no longer need my sanity, it doesn't help.

    Mark L.