I don’t know why I felt such surprise when my suitcase proved to be over-weight at the LGA check-in counter this morning. “Ten pounds over, that’s fifty dollars,” the counter person said. “Do you want to take some things out?” I mumbled something about too many books. “Books,” she said. “It’s often books.”
There was no one in line behind me, so I was only moderately embarrassed to unzip my ginormous suitcase and paw through my worn clothing and numerous shoes and souvenirs for my kids to reach the books I’d packed in the middle. By the time I was done, I had six books stacked on the floor beside my stuffed-full computer bag and none-too-dainty purse. As an afterthought I pulled out the zippered tote bag I’d gotten at Thrillerfest, the conference I’d just left. I stuffed the books inside and lumbered off, wondering how I was going to get American to let me bring three carry-on bags onboard.
Books. Always books. The lovely B&N folks had already packed up a big box of them for me at the hotel for shipment, but I’d obviously forgotten to root those extra six out of my room in time. If I were a sensible traveler, I would’ve had room in my suitcase for six extra books.
But I am not sensible. I am not a light traveler. I feel a need to have familiar things around me even when I’m a thousand miles from home. I cannot think of a single thing I brought that I didn’t need–okay, maybe there were a few pairs of earrings and a slip and one dress I didn’t wear. But I wore each of the sixteen shoes, some more than once!
Writer Joe Finder blogged his last tour on myspace and wrote about traveling the whole week with only a single single carry-on bag (on the charming, handsome, brilliant Lee Child’s advice–and if you know the Jack Reacher books, you know that Lee believes that even his characters should travel light!). Joe made it without much incident, but I never could do such a thing.
I don’t trust hotel hair dryers to work. And I like to wear flip-flops on those suspicious hotel floors. And personal bath poufs are desirable. And I like to have cozy socks for cold feet and more for wearing during workouts. My things are like my security blanket for being far from home, some small recompense for the absence of my favorite pillow and the sounds of my dogs and children waking and clamoring for love and attention. My things feel like home.
Finally, today, I will be home.