After finishing a brutal spring semester at UNM I had one week to clean house, plan, prepare, and pack for a much anticipated seven-week trip to Mexico. The house needed to be ready for house-sitters, and it looked and smelled like it hosted a semester-long frat party. After nearly a week of intense fingers-to-the-bone scouring, the house was downright presentable. When I was finished you could’ve actually cooked in the kitchen, eaten the food on the bar-counter, and used the bathroom without needing to vomit afterwards. It was a daunting task and a major accomplishment and I got no cookie, no gold star, no pat on the back. I merely did what most people do everyday; I actually cleaned up after myself. It just happened to be a semester’s worth of accumulated debris, detritus, flotsam, and jetsam, not to mention some parts of the house which had never been exposed to a cleaning implement since the house was built.
I’ve never been much of a packer. I usually pack for a long trip in about 20 minutes, with little regard for folding, how things fit, or whether its a good idea to actually bring what I packed in the first place. This trip was different; I spent days washing all the right clothes, sorting, planning, editing, and revising. I packed, pondered, and re-packed three or four times before I was satisfied, or rather, I ran out of time. Perhaps its just because I'm getting older, but it seems like seven weeks in parts mostly unknown warrant at least a little bit of care in preparation. I bought a suitcase just for this trip which I will henceforth refer to as “Beastie”. By far the largest suitcase I’ve ever owned, Beastie needed to accommodate enough things to get me through seven weeks in three very different climates and appropriate clothes for working in hospitals, clinics, ambulances, and offices. Not to worry though, thanks to Beastie's girth I was still able to pack enough my casual-dork-jock ensembles so as to maintain my carefully cultivated image. I lovingly placed a WFMU sticker on Beastie's front to set it apart from all the other generic expressions of travel totage saturating today’s airports. In short, I exercised some actual give-a-shit to this preparation.