So I'm off in a few minutes, but this vacation is different.
I've become one of them. For so many years, I held on to the ideal of "packed and ready to move at a moment's notice." When I was a Boy Scout, I got elected patrol leader one year. Pretty much everybody did, at one point or another, so don't read anything into that. But this was summer, and when we went to camp, a new boy got assigned to my patrol.
We had this backpacker cult going on, who could pack the least, who had the coolest pack, who had the right Swiss Army knife, the right Sierra cup, who showed that they'd earned their rappelling merit badge by wearing a carabiner clipped to their belt loop at all times, and this young lad was struggling down the hill to our campsite with two large, hard-sided faux-leather suitcases.
Which he'd forgotten the keys to.
Fortunately, the luggage was cheap, and all of us were constantly working on our lockpicking and cat-burglary merit badges, so it was a matter of a few minutes and a few bent paper clips to get access to his stuff again, but the damage to his image was done.
Packed and ready to move at a moment's notice, I used to be. Traveling in casual clothes, but with combat, or at least hiking, boots on my feet. Space blanket in my carry-on.
All the survival gear the airport screeners would allow through.
Because, Lord of the Flies, you know.
Or whatever. Keep all of your gear in something with shoulder straps, you don't need to spend money on a Smarte Carte, Marine.
Ready to move, over any terrain. Escalators, slidewalks, even carpet.
But you're getting old. Not too old to carry your trash that way, mind you, but old enough not to have to.
You're in your mid-forties.
You're a professor (of sorts).
You're wearing a Panama hat and a pocket square; the last time there was an overbooking on your flight, you got upgraded, not bumped.
You've got a suitcase with wheels and a nice little locking strap for extra security this time, and a neck pillow hanging from your carry-on.
You're a traitor to your past, and you know it.
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