I spent yesterday afternoon packing for my trip to Paris. I will only be there one week and I’ll be dog-sitting, so I should be able to get by with very little. I mean, one doesn’t need high heels or a cocktail dress when spending every free moment with a Dalmatian, right? So why is it so difficult to pack everything for a week in a little carry-on? I’ve decided that its age.
Normally my packing problem begins and ends with shoes. It’s a simple fact of female life that you have to have the right shoes for the right outfit, am I not correct? But this time, with a minimum of outfits, all in black (this is Paris after all), I still needed 3 pair of shoes. And now I have to admit, this is NOT for vanity’s sake. It’s because my old feet get so sore and cramped that I need to change my shoes often when I’m doing a lot of walking. Plain and simple. So, one week…one pair of shoes and two pairs of boots.
Then there’s the personal product bag. It used to be one, now it’s three. First there’s the creams and potions. I try…I really try…to keep these at a minimum. But my face no longer seems to bounce back when I go without. Plain soap and water causes my skin great agony and it quickly takes on the look of the leftover December grapes still hanging on the vines. It seems that every year I have to add a new cure to the myriad of miracles that will supposedly keep my skin young. Fat chance. This goes for hair products as well.
Ditto on the makeup. Now, apparently, I must spackle my face and eyelids with various emulsions before applying makeup, in order to keep it from permanently lodging in the crags and crevices of the years. I’m thinking at this point that if it rained on my face, the droplets would slide off…the same theory as that stuff you put on your windshield. None of these products have managed to keep my lipstick from making it's daily migration up to the base of my nose, however.
Undies. One ugly bra in beige used to do it. And a couple of pairs of cotton granny panties that I could wash out every other day. Now I have to have at least 4 sets and they have to all be different, pretty and matching. This is not the fault of age however. It’s the fault of France. But these bras do take up a lot of space and that IS because of age. In order to replace, reorder, re-hoist all that has fallen or completely disappeared, they require a lot of extra parts and pieces.
I’ve also had to pack 5 French books because I fully intend to do some studying while I’m there. I’ve been lax and it shows in my conversation
abilities disabilities. And I’m afraid I have to attribute this to age as well.
If I were younger, I’m sure I would have been able to learn to speak French
correctly within the 3 years that I’ve been here. But I haven’t. My old brain
is still trying to work out the pluperfect, conditional perfect and the future perfect as
well as feminine and masculine versions of everything. And I've decided I’m not even going to
require myself to go any further than that.
Then there’s the comforts that I’m no longer willing to do without. A pair of warm slippers, lounging p.j.s with a nice, comfy ELASTIC waist. I had to leave the down pillow at home this time, which has me worried. Will I be able to sleep without my squishy pillow that goes everywhere with me? Or without my down comforter?
On top of it all I have to pack 3 pairs of glasses, one for day, one for work, and one as a spare, plus all the junk for contacts if I should choose to wear them.
As I was packing, rearranging, adding and subtracting, I wondered what the hell has happened to me? Will I soon become one of THOSE woman, hauling around several giant bags for a 2-night sejour in Sandusky? You know, the one that takes up all the trunk space of the taxi so her friends have to resort to sitting on theirs in the back of the cab.
I’m writing this while on the high-speed train to Paris. I did manage one carry-on style bag and my computer bag with any and all electronics, chargers, cords, and cards that I might need. I have a one bedroom in the 15th in exhange for the dog-sitting, so I imagine I can do laundry. Which will be necessary... considering there was barely any room in my suitcase for actual clothes.