He needed 8.
He only packed 6.
“I’ve got a problem here,” my husband announced on morning #6 of our 2,700-mile road trip to the East Coast.
He stood by the bed, where our large suitcase was open, its contents spilling out from various side pockets and unzipped interior storage areas.
Shoes missing their mates. Wrinkled clothes. A battered bottle of shampoo leaking into one corner.
So, yeah, the suitcase was a mess.
But when we ventured forth from our small Missouri town, it had been packed with military-like precision. Everything in its place. Neat. Ordered. Pristine.
It could have had a starring role in suitcase commercials, a Madonna-like representative of Suitcase Awesomeness everywhere.
By day #3 it had tumbled into such disarray it looked like it had fallen off the back of a speeding truck and been run over by at least three cars.
And a bulldozer.
And maybe a food truck. Leaking oil.
You get the picture.
But that’s what happens when you’re on vacation. A suitcase’s volume shrinks proportionately to the number of days you’re away from home.
If only schools taught you how to overcome that physics conundrum. Instead, they focus on stuff like Algebra and balancing a checkbook.
...Our educational system is so messed up.
So, anyway, my husband is standing over a suitcase that has seen better days, and he doesn’t appear very happy.
He looked up with a questioning face and asked, “How many days are we on vacation?”
I quickly answered, “Eight. Like I told you before we left home. Eight days. Eight whole days.”
He looked back down at the suitcase and began to paw through a large, heaping pile of shorts and shirts and socks and underwear. His mouth counted silently with each piece of clothing he picked up and laid back down. After a few minutes, he threw the last pair of shorts back into the suitcase and stated quite eloquently, “Well, son-of-a-*****.”
“Problem?” I asked, not really caring about his answer. I had my own problems.
He nodded, “Yeah. I only packed 6.”
“Six what?” I asked absentmindedly, cramming my own stuff into our shared suitcase, quickly realizing that half of HIS stuff was spilling over onto MY side.
Oh, I don’t think so.
I quickly began shoving HIS stuff back over onto HIS side, wondering what our marriage vows had said about sharing suitcases and how that fit into the whole “love, honor and obey” equation, when he answered quietly, “Six pairs.”
“Of what?” I asked, still not caring.
That’s just the kind of wife I am.
“Underwear,” he finally confessed. “Six pairs of underwear.”
OK. Now I’m paying attention.
“But I told you we’d be gone for 8 days,” I said. I gestured toward his pile of clothes and asked, “So why did you only pack 6?”
He threw his arms out and whined, “I don’t know! I only packed 6 pairs of socks too!”
Oh, for the love of God.
“Six isn’t the same as 8, you know,” I pointed out, speaking slowly, wondering if this was it, the moment where the 9 years of age difference was finally going to jump up and bite me in the you-know-what, the point when his advanced years would begin dragging down my younger, hotter self.
(Yeah, I snorted when I wrote that too...but I’m leaving it in anyway.)
He looked at me in despair and asked with no small amount of pain, “What am I gonna do? I don’t have time to wash them before we get on the road today.”
I shrugged, “So turn a couple of pairs inside out. Problem solved.”
Shocked silence met my suggestion.
Then he manned up and gritted, “I. Do. Not. Wear. A. Pair. Of. Underwear. More. Than. One. Day. In. A. Row.”
Well, excuuuuuuse me, Mr. Princess.
One short visit to a large upscale department store later that day got him back in business.
But he was a little lighter in the wallet for it.
He stomped out of the doors, held up a small plastic bag stuffed with undies and socks and griped, “Fifty bucks. This cost me $50!”
I quickly shrugged and answered, “You could have just gone commando.”
Suddenly he felt $50 didn’t seem like too much at all.