Way back in the winter of ’10, when our heroine was feigning a post BU self-confidence that was on its way to becoming delightfully real, an idea was hatched. A 2011 trip to New Zealand that would reunite two friends previously separated by a country, now stationed on either side of an ocean. Our heroine told her family there would be no holiday visits. She resigned herself to working all year and hoarding vacation time. Now, 11 months and 3 weeks after the hatching of said idea, the time to depart has arrived. Danie is going to New Zealand.
As the year wore on, this vacation became a necessity. I found I needed to see my friend, to stare at her fingers and to tell her to stop biting her nails. I needed to see her big eyeballs in person and watch her scrunch her face and say “No Danielle, that’s just wrong” for one reason or another. And as I got closer to seeing her, I got the feeling she needed to see me too. We needed to be friends together, in person. Feeling that – that this was an important and indispensible life occurrence – made the whole voyage nearly Sans-Souci. I knew nothing would go wrong. I was meant to see Ang.
Wednesday 30 November 2011
It’s logical to think I would have been packed well before it was time to go. Even I thought I would be. I was so sure I’d be ready before the airport shuttle arrived; I scheduled an hour of pampering that morning. I thought myself so clever! And that may have been my problem, thinking when I should have been packing.
Technically I started packing Tuesday. I gathered the things I knew I was going to bring. I organized them by category. I bundled then in baggies. There was a “shower baggie,” a “dental baggie,” a “hair care baggie,” an “electronics baggie,” – you get the idea. I took my baggies and lined them up near (near, not actually in) the larger bags in which they would go. I considered that to be an accomplishment. I’m pretty sure I gave myself a self-satisfactory smile. It should also be noted I did not involve any clothes that “early” in the process. I thought that would just kind of fall into place. I assure you, I have actually traveled before. Promise.
Wednesday came. I deposited checks. I got cash. I mailed things that needed to be mailed. I stopped at the pharmacy for a prescription that won’t be needed until January. I went to the bank to try and buy New Zealand Dollars. I wasted as much time the morning before I left as possible. This occurred to me as I was chatting with Kate, less than two hours before the scheduled pampering, with nary a baggie in a bag.
And then I got down to business. I packed my “in case my suitcase is lost” carry on items. I pulled out what I wanted to wear and what I might want to wear. I made an enormous mess. I took a break. It was pampering time. As I sat awaiting my pedicure, I thought I was well on my way. Sure I had missed my original deadline, but I was pretty close. I could still accomplish everything in 1:45, without smudging a toe. I let the pamper-providers do their job and I did mine. I relaxed. With brows freshly waxed and toes freshly painted, I went back home and (daintily) got back to getting down to business. Then, as they say, things got real.
The shuttle company called to say the shuttle would be 15 minutes early. I realized my suitcase was incapable of closing. I began pulling pieces out at random; indifferent to whether they had been integral parts of masterfully crafted outfits. I had to rinse the conditioner from my hair. My mom called. I kept finding things that had to come, even though all three bags were full. My apartment needed to be tidied. One toe was smudged. Plants needed to be watered. Garbage had to be removed. Accessories needed to baggied. Windows has to be cracked (in case of a slow gas leak), but not by too much (in case of horizontal torrential rains). The shuttle driver was 15 minutes early for being 15 minutes early. I found a baggie that had been hidden under discarded clothes. I needed an umbrella. I had to pray for the safety of my home. There was no way my travel blankie was going to fit. I locked the door and didn’t dare look back. I boarded the shuttle as if someone were chasing me. We pulled away. I realized I forgot hair clips.
Alas, I was on my way to New Zealand.
Or so I allowed myself to believe.