Person: "When do you leave?"
Me: "September fifth."
Person: "That's really cool. Are you all packed yet?"
That interaction has occurred, with negligible variation, no fewer than eleven times in the last few weeks. When I was asked on September third, it seemed reasonable enough. When I was asked on August fifteenth, it was a bit much.
Now that it's September fourth, I have, of course, packed. I am, in fact, finishing up right now. The suitcases (nicknamed Silver Frog and Blue Lion after their respective colors and adorable Li'l Lewis ID tags) are ready to go, save for toiletries. I myself have little concern that I saved packing until the last day, because I had mentally packed well in advanced, but everyone asking about it kept making me nervous.
In my experience, the hardest part of packing is the carry-on. It didn't used to be, but, then, we didn't used to have laptops. It's really the computer that seems to kill the whole deal. it takes up so much space, is so integral to the whole process, that packing the carry on without the laptop seems silly, yet so does packing the computer up at 11 in the morning of the day before I leave. So here I sit, in a bizarrely uncomfortable stasis, waiting until just before bed, I guess.
* * * * *
Whomever looks at the x-ray of my carry-on tomorrow is going to be puzzled. I have eight different Moleskine-type notebooks coming in my carry-on; Planner, address book, multimedia log (I'll explain some day), a notebook for notes on teaching, my songwriting notebooks Mach I through III (too valuable to risk losing in checked bags), and the new Mach IV. Odder still because that's just about all my carry-on will contain, besides the aforementioned laptop.
I will also have my iPod with me. As an experiment, I've decided to spend a concentrated portion of my travel time tomorrow and Tuesday listening to all of Gustav Mahler's symphonies. It will take about twelve and a half hours of my 24 hours of travel time. Around that, I plan to read The Amber Spyglass, the final book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy, a series you should seriously consider reading if you haven't. I will also, naturally, have a Terry Pratchett book with me, just in case. Never, ever hurts.