it is a truth universally acknowledged

that the worst time to think about packing for a trip is when you're still bulging from the last trip. Face it, it can't all be water retention from plane flights. A reasonable person might suggest that I have had my salt and fat ration for the rest of 2011.

I prefer to choose and pack clothes with a mental picture of self gracefully wafting through narrow cobblestoned streets of old quarters, self being seated at chef's table by enamored maitre d's, self lingering mysteriously over coffee whilst ignoring admiring glances of much younger.... Instead of mental picture of me saying how much my feet hurt in the language of your choice. Here's the issue: I do indeed own a number of things that fit and are cute and comfortable. Yes, I do. Alas, they do not always coordinate with one another, and when they do, they do not coordinate with the season and climate of the planned trip (France, early to mid-June). So.. still kinda full, a little grumpy, not anxious to buy anything that will look funny in a couple of weeks, and thinking that Chairman Mao may have had some good ideas about wardrobing after all. Although if I had to spend my life in blue pajamas, I know I'd have had them tailored, had the shoulder seams and wrist length adjusted, had the hems and buttonholes gone over by hand, relined the top and reinforced the seat.

We've made our reservations, but again, planning a trip anywhere with Himself is like getting on a boat with Columbus. You may think you're heading for India and the Spice Islands, and you'll wind up on the shores of a Caribbean island. Or you may think you're going around the corner to pick up a sandwich and you'll find yourself in the car heading out to some deep-fried hot-dog place in North Jersey that he just learned might be in financial difficulty and close soon. (burps). He's looking at the list of reservations like it's a first draft.

So I wasn't all that surprised when I learned that the best price for transportation to Paris had us going to London, staying over and grabbing the Chunnel the next day. OK, the Chunnel's kind of fun, and then one thing led to another, and next thing I know, as long as we'll be in London one night, why not two? with dinners? and lunches? Reservations altered accordingly, but still planning on some warm Spring nights in Paris. Um, except that the Chunnel also goes to Brussels, and we could stop there for a sentimental dinner at a place we haven't been in a long time, and the chef is aging fast, and continue to Paris the next morning. That loud noise you just heard was me slamming the door on some guy mumbling about not having been to Florence or Verona in a long time either.

Why should I even bother to fret about this? why not just accumulate a travel wardrobe consisting of large comfy things with a few elegant scarves (to be carefully removed before I plunge face first into plates).... well, because I do believe that when people work hard to present a fine meal in a nice atmosphere, elegantly served, they deserve to see some outward signs of my respect for their efforts. Well, there's still time, and there will still be sales. And there may even be another revolution, in which case I may indeed need to dig up a pair of those pajamas.
Or, as my dad used to say, the horse could talk.

4 comments:

  1. You'll be in France just before me. I'll be in Paris the last week of June then on the TGV to the South for two weeks.
    It sounds like you'll be eating at many restaurants, not the case for us this trip as we will have our daughters with us. We'll be eating dinners in, even in Paris where we've rented a studio in the Opera district. Eating in is the only way we can afford to be away for three weeks!

    You may not want to know what I'm packing up as you seem to have heart set on those fetching Mao Jammies, but I started my Packing Up For France posts today. There will be three in total, it's serious bidness you know. ;)

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  2. Southern Belle Ph.D.May 20, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Loved reading this!!! I know the pain but I am embarrassed to say I am struggling with packing and I am only going to South Beach. My husband and I seem to try to take most of what we own when we travel! Keep us posted on the packing and do take us along on your trip via your blog.

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  3. Dani, there are so many lovely small food stores in your area, not to mention marchés volants and the food hall atop Galeries Lafayette, that you won't suffer. And, charmingly, French merchants will sell you 1 or 2 slices if this and another 3 petits tranches of that, so if you & Mr want to try something that doesn't look appealing to the kids - no problem. And no waste.
    And I've been following your packing plans with interest!

    SouthernBelle, I'm taking the iPhone with the primitive blogging app. Et je croise les doigts!

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  4. I'm living vicariously through you and Dani, and reading with a bit of envy. Alas, I'm packing for another bidness trip ... Looking forward to your posts!

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