I'd be able to pack faster if I didn't want people to think I was a magician.
Tomorrow morning first thing I'm headed off to the airport to begin two weeks of touring to fun places (Texas! California! Texas! California!), which means today I have to pack for two weeks of touring to fun places. There are a few difficulties associated with long term packing:
A) One never knows what the weather will be, and in 2012, one knows even less. One could pack for all possibilities, but that would not be space efficient. Tis better to gamble, gentle reader. Better to gamble.
B) One has to pack for multiple dress codes. I have simplified this process considerably by refusing to wear anything but jeans since 2008, but occasionally there are extenuating circumstances. For instance, I have to attend the LA Times Book Award reception where THE SCORPIO RACES is a finalist, knowing that if I win, I will have to stand in front of everyone. I will break my jeans-rule for that. I have a dress I can crush into the size of my eyeball that I can wear, but the shoes will be annoying. Maybe I can wear my combat boots.
C) One has to abide by TSA standards. So that means no more than 3, 3 ounce bottles of fluid in carry on, and nothing that you could poke someone's eye out before gaining control of the plane and using it to fly to Tahiti. Also one has to be able to whip their lap top out in security.
D) One has to hoard food whenever possible. Maggies are allergic to some preservatives and intolerant of others (which you might be too, to some degree)(although hopefully it doesn't make all your hair fall out and your skin slough like it does to me). So one must find room to stuff bags of cookies and possibly loaves of bread, like a hobbit or Peeta would do.
E) One must bring the office. One is always on a deadline, so the lap top and the charger and the iPod and the headphones must come along. Otherwise one's editor begins to make squinty eyes.
F) One probably has to look cool in public while carrying the stuff. It had to be said. I think it's important to counteract all the cranky, tired, deflated people I see in airports whenever possible. Which is why I usually pack in this for trips a week or less:
Every little bit helps.
And then, of course, if you are me, there is also:
G) One must convince others that one is a magician.
Basically, what I'm trying to tell you is this: every time someone says "I can't believe you got ___ weeks of travel into ___ bags," or some variant, I get an additional 10 minutes added to my life. 10 minutes might not seem like very much to you, but go eat a cookie and time yourself. Do you see how many cookies you can consume in 10 minutes? A lot. It adds up.
So it has become not only a matter of convenience but a matter of pride that nothing short of a month-long-book-tour can break me and send me packing a bag I have to check in at baggage. Everything else I will make fit into carry-on bags. Through sheer force of will.
Which means that today, packing day, becomes all about me trying to get as much of A-F into my luggage while still accomplishing G. And I use all my old techniques: packing jeans that will stand me wearing them two or three times. Packing layers instead of sweaters. Packing only what I need and not what I think I might possibly need. Rolling everything instead of folding it. Eventually, after working away at it for an hour, I end up with one or two or three weeks of outfits and my duffel spread out on the floor. And things of course don't fit, because you can't fit two weeks of touring into a duffel bag, no matter how good you are at packing.
Which is when I use magic.
Because I'm a magician. No, really.