Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Five Cubic Metres, Five Cubic Centimetres

How will he ever pack his belongs in five cubic metres? The American equivalent of 6.5 cubic yards. Impossible.

The past six years we have overstuffed the rear of whatever Volvo station wagon I am driving. Squeezing pillows and posters and bedding with squash gear and lamps and rugs. Ooooh. I almost forgot. Clothes for every possible event. Several choices, in fact. Into half that space.

This he gets from me.

And my Grandma Alice. She of the grand steamer trunks replete with silk lined drawers and monogrammed leather trim.

You might need this for that event. And of course what about this for the other event? What if so-and-so invites you to meet the Queen? Be on the safe side. Take both. It might rain. Snow. Not. Be flexible. It's yours. it should be with you to remind you of home. Your sense of humor. Camp adventures. Middle school buddies.

The more the suitcases. the more the merrier. Except for our ten day university tour by train through Great Britain and Scotland in early winter. Might need boots? Check. Extra scarves? Right-o. Dressy clothes? It's close to the holidays. Your school books? Midterms are the week after our return.

Four heavy very heavy roller bags later we embarked. Heavy as lead suitcases that we had to hoist from train platform through quickly closing doors and hop in behind. Four different hotels in less than two weeks. And horrors ... we never wore the boots. Nor our festive outfits. In fact, I wore the same pair of black pants nearly every day. Could have done the entire trip with a carryon. But shhhhhhhhhh.

We are crazy. Bonafide, over-packers. You are more than welcome to acknowledge the fact. We are nuts Did we learn from our sore backs and aching shoulders. HELL NO! Our motto - Be prepared for anything!

Schleppers extraordinaire.

Barely able to see over the piles smoonched into the back of the car and filling every gap under our feet, I have pulled out of our driveway or the circle in front of one of his Andover dorms or Grays East in Harvard Yard ... where yes, you can park in Harvard Yard and his single in a five-man suite was formerly inhabited by the then brilliant super geek and now infamous, jailed for life Unabomber) or Lowell House with the lovely bell tower silhouetting the Cambridge sky, a stone's throw from The Fly (finals club of FDR ... and my darling son).

The conundrum? Our latest dilemma?

Transporting piles of need-to-have accouterments, wardrobe and vast library of books across the seas to his new home in the Far East.

Can it be done?

Should it be done?

Will it even fit in his company-provided apartment two blocks from the office?

Our vote ... drum roll please ... is to take three suitcases packed with clothes and a very few mementos of home. Period.

Cheers to enlightened world travelers who may just finally get it.

[Postscript: Charlie's shared apartment is minuscule. His bedroom the size of a sleeper car in economy. A bunk bed loft over the closet with steps doubling as dresser drawers ... and a desk with chair. His entire personal space less than five cubic meters! Lesson learned, I think ;-)]

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