“How long are you staying?” they laugh, openly gawking at my suitcase. “Aren’t you only leaving your house for one day?”
Every trip I take, I am faced with this nosy inquiry. What do people expect me to reply with? Is this simply a joke at my expense, or do they expect legitimate, intelligible responses to these questions? If it is the latter…these are the things I want to say.
“Wait–you mean you aren’t adopting me?”
“Shhh, I’m running away to join the circus.”
“This is where I keep my spare siblings / inflatable boyfriend.”
“Actually, I brought you a goat.”
“Suitcase? I don’t see a suitcase. Now, do you have a shovel? I’ll meet you in the backyard.”
“Watch this. It’s like a Russian nesting doll. I fit all of my belongings into a bag the size of a toaster oven. Guess how many layers there are. Just guess!”
“I never know how sanitary my potential sleeping quarters will be, so I just curl right up in here. No offense. I mean…you have a lovely home.”
“We aren’t going to that all-you-can-eat buffet? Drat.”
Somehow, these snappy retorts never slip off my tongue. Instead, I’m left floundering, trying to defend my luggage choices. The questions and the tone always seem to assume the worst of me. So, here and now, with my wits about me, I’d like to explain myself.
1. I am not lazy.
No, I didn’t choose this enormous bag because I was too lazy to transfer my toiletries out the last time I went on a two week trip. Actually, I like keeping and using this big bag for travel because I have become familiar with it. That doesn’t make me lazy, that makes me resourceful. If you’ve ever had to try to navigate your belongings in a dark hotel room, you should understand. Would you rather try to rely on your groggy brain, or the thorough memories of your standard baggage?
2. I am not stupid.
Yes, I understand that I will be back inside my house in twenty-four hours. Yes, I know that even in the worst case scenarios, I don’t need to bring my entire closet along for this trip. Yes, I have comprehended the volume of the suitcase. I may not display constant, flawless decision-making, but I don’t regularly act like a village idiot. If I do make a dumb mistake, it’s spur of the moment. Packing isn’t spur of the moment. I know what I’m doing.
3. I am not frivolous.
I’m not a girly girl. I didn’t decide to drag along this TARDIS of a luggage collection to house fifteen pairs of shoes. I didn’t pack ten shirts and four pairs of slacks so I could “make up my mind in the morning”. I didn’t fold up my entire bathroom to ensure a glamorous face. No, sometimes I don’t even bring full-sized toiletries. I pack just as much as I need, with allowance for one disaster. If it isn’t snowing, I’ll wear the same raggy pair of flipflops for every occasion.
At the end of the day, my giant gray plastic suitcase isn’t any of your business. Sure, you’re free to comment however much you’d like to. However, maybe the next time you go to whip out your incredibly insightful observations about my luggage, consider why you’re bothering to in the first place. Are you trying to make me feel stupid? Then it probably isn’t worth your time. Are you genuinely curious? Communicate that with your tone, and I’ll be happy to laugh with you. Do you want a legitimate answer to this question that is clearly burning within your heart and soul? Well, since you asked…
“Tell Franzisco zat I have ze goods. I vill be vaiting in ze limozene for ze payment. He muzt come alone: I vill not be crozzed again.”