Day Four – Packing a Case


Day Four, and I’m actually kind of glad that the earth hasn’t been knocked off its axis for me during the 29 Days of Giving experiment. I think if everything had started to change and the universe had started farting rainbows and pots of gold in my direction, I’d be likely to start thinking about doing good because of the good that would come back at me, and I don’t want to be doing the right thing for the wrong reason (isn’t that what T.S. Eliot’s Thomas Becket said?). Anyway, despite my gift-giving, the world has continued to spin as usual for me, thankfully.

Tomorrow we leave for a cruise that will take us to both Key West and Cuba. I’ve never really had any great desire to go to Cuba, but Dan wants to go, so I’m happy to go along for the ride. Today my most conscious gift was not bitching at Dan when I had to pack his suitcase. I know that sounds like it should be a natural thing, but after nearly 25 years, I’ve realized that Dan is abysmally lost when it comes to packing for a trip. If he could, he’d wait until moments before his departure, stuff every piece of clothing he owns into the biggest, most unmanageable  suitcase possible, and then wonder why there wasn’t room for four different pairs of shoes. This kind of disorganization makes me crazy, so for as long as we’ve been together, I’ve handled the packing duties.

This is not as easy as it may seem because Dan likes to challenge me on what I’ve packed. And while he could not pack his own suitcase with any kind of organization at all, he invariably asks me if I’ve remembered to pack his blue shirt after I’ve already zipped closed the packed valise. After about the sixth time he asks about another random item that  he never would have remembered to pack at all if packing on his own, I typically have a meltdown and get bitchy, reminding him that he has yet to acknowledge the work I’ve put into washing, folding, organizing, and packing his suitcase, so he can have fun.
Today was a little different though. I consciously kept my frustration at bay and didn’t flip out when, after I’d already closed the case and told him there was no more room, he found a reason to start trying on multiple different pairs of shoes to take on a four-day trip. It may seem like the everyday kinds of compromises that couples make for one another, but it’s one that I have always had a really hard time with – especially when it’s been met in the past with no acknowledgement of the effort and often a sense of entitlement or expectation. Today though, I took it in stride; it was my gift to Dan. I even let him choose fast food for lunch (which made me ill) and pizza for dinner (which I still didn’t feel well enough from lunch to want to eat).

Tomorrow, we’ll leave for Tampa, Key West, and Cuba, and I’ll be taking my 29 Gift experiment with me as we cruise, so we’ll see what happens when I’m forced to go back out into the real world (admittedly, I’ve been a bit of a hermit this week with work and writing). It will be interesting to see if I can maintain my desire to give when faced with the often disappointing reality of humanity. Wish me luck.


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