Posted by: kgnarlym | June 20, 2012

Pack-Rat Procrasti-Knack.

I get a real thrill from packing. All my packing tends to be for trips of minimal to moderate distance and duration. The only international trip I ever have taken, I never returned from. And at the ripe old age of several months, you just don’t have many material possessions.

It borders with Neurotic, the way I take forever to decide what to bring along. Even if the agenda is just to go get gas, there is a convening of my conflicting Council of Self.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! There simply MUST be something to waste time deliberating about…

Bring The hip-hop Mix! Beats always bump harder in the Summer!

No, no, no! It’s sweltering out there, call on the spirit of Brasil!

Fools! Haha! We all know that this is the season for terrible pop music!

Play the reggae! How bout some bluegrass! Hendrix, Man.

It’s like: SHUT UP IN THERE!!!!

It’s tough to tell if my anxiety is actually caused by this kind of Be-Preparedness, or if I’m already worked up and  just applying my anxiety to different situations. I’ve been known to humor any possible scenario and just bring as much of Whatever as I can rationally justify. My trunk is a used sporting goods store, just in case Today is the day that somebody finally says “Dude, let’s go play baseball.”

But if Today isn’t that day, it’s all good. I have my golf clubs…my frisbee-golf discs…a basketball. Be Prepared.

That’s what They reccomend via the Boy Scouts organization.

Good advice, but it can certainly be taken too far. Mental preparedness creates a lot of ultimately unnecessary clutter. Call me Exhibit-A.

It is useful in the short-term to be considerate of the myriad possibilities the Universe presents. Intelligent packing does just that. It’s always worth bringing a pair of pants, even to a warm climate. There are countless bugs worth keeping away from the skin on your legs; and the absurdity of happening-to-be-There during an unseasonably cold week is awful to endure.

But beyond the relatively obvious “essentials,” it all becomes extraneous quite quickly.

Right now, I have all the clothes I would possibly need for the duration of the extended-weekend packed up in a nice, efficient, and orderly manner. The aforementioned pants (just jeans, no formal attire needed for this trip), several underoos (heck, pretty classy!), a pair of Town-worthy shorts, a pair of gym shorts, tee-shirts, and even two collared tees, socks are certainly worth the effort, and a long-sleeve thermal shirt for good measure.

It’s a little much for my genuine Need, but luxury isn’t lethal. I won’t be caught without appropriate attire, unless a spontaneous cocktail party manifests.

This part is so easy…

…and then I asked myself, “what books are we gonna bring?”

Immediately, a humble library begins to accumulate. The odds of me doing lots of reading aren’t particularly high in the first place…but my oh-so-restless mind would never forgive itself for not having the perfect book on hand to accomodate the subject-dujour.

Maybe I will feel inspired to read on environmental ethics… I certainly want to bring my qigong texts… And I would do well to do some yoga study while away from the buzz of the City… I might need to use one of my music theory books for reference… I get such a kick out of reading about astrology… This will be a great chance to learn more about psychoanalytic philosophy… I never finished that interesting book from that class I took… Perhaps I’m overdue for a conference with David Hume…

I literally panic a bit to even consider the reality that I cannot bring all of these. It’s quite ridiculous. The Truth is that whichever books make the final cut in about an hour from Now, I will barely bother to open. But I will insist on bringing as many as I can regardless. It’s so silly.

But this is all a great opportunity, also, to practice prioritizing my material possessions. It’s liberating to leave so much of my Material-Life behind, and so easy, knowing there will be a reunion before too long. The drum kit isn’t making the trip, my car will wait at home, indeed the Home itself will be vacated for a time. Yet, certain things will come along; and this is almost assuredly very telling.

Packing for a vacation or shorter trip shows, in the material plane, where the emphasis of the Time and Mind are! Fascinating! It’s as if we get to reinvent ourselves materially for a Time, and then come back to “Reality.” I can go for  a walk in the woods with a knife or a flute and the experience will ultimately be unique to my selection. But I’m still the guy who went for a walk in the woods.

For a few days, I am going to be the guy with some clothes, a few books, and a guitar…but when I get back, I will be the guy with piles of clothes he refuses to wear, bins full of books he will never read, and multiple guitars that sit sedate and neglected.

An anthropologist would probably get dramatically different impressions about my Life depending on which version they were investigating. If they were to dig me up at home amidst the piles of clutter I surround myself with, they would call out my pack-rat tendencies with ease. But if they were to excavate the me who just went to get the gas, a much simpler person would seem apparent. Perspective and such, is indeed powerful!

It is not wise to be defined by the things we own, but like it or not, the things we own do tell something of the Self.

The process of packing is so laborious for me because I delight in excavating who I am in the moment, knowing that this particular I is simply mySelf making preparations for particular (and merely predicted) circumstances. And I think a more accurate picture develops by doing the packing in a shorter window of time. If I take a week, I could probably really whittle down the list of desireable packables…but in the heat of the moment, decisions have to be made; decision that will be final, at least for the duration of the vacation or even just that particular day.

That sense of finality freaks my Mind out something fierce, but it illuminates who I am with, and without, Material Things… and that is an invaluable study!

So on that note, I best finish packing, before it’s time to Go!

 

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