Glancing up, I realize that my title is a bit ambiguous. The word “pack” can have many meanings, such as “a pack of gum,” or a “Cub Scout pack.” Or carrying a concealed weapon.
So let me state at the outset that the following is not intended to be a sequel to Orange Is The New Black, although murder could very well be one possible outcome.
But no. I’m referring to “pack” as in “packing.” Like putting clothes into a suitcase or a garment bag, or loading boxes into a car.
What has caused me to ponder the subject of packing at this particular time was our typical month of May sojourn from the south back to the cooler north country, where we remain until it is time to once again follow the birds. We have been migrating thusly for the past fifteen years. The week before the departure is filled with decision-making about what we absolutely need to take with us, which is almost everything, and what can stay behind. Which is very little.
Then there is the physical act of actually packing, about which I get obsessively compulsive. And my husband? Not so much. So it unfolds that I am folding, while he will join me in just a minute as soon as he finishes writing his email. Which, as it turns out, is another version of Gone With The Wind.
When he has dotted the last “i” and crossed the last “t” he is likely to wander into the bedroom, look at me with his best version of astonishment, and utter something like “You finished already? Why didn’t you wait for me?” His relief is palpable.
This year however, circumstances were a bit different. I have developed a left shoulder problem, which has caused me less than full use of my left arm. And being left-handed…well, I don’t have to explain. You get the picture.
So, about seven days before our departure date, I converse with the master of avoidance, and explain how, this year, I will really need his help. Which is my way of warning not to even think about composing War and Peace. He is very understanding.
Fast forward to two days before departure date. Early morning conversation:
(Him) I don’t feel well. I think I’m getting sick.
(Me) What’s wrong?
(Him) My throat is scratchy. I think I’m getting a cold.
(Me) No, you’re not..
(Him) But my throat…..
“But my shoulder,” I remind him, as I hand him a lozenge, and point to the suitcase.
Looking for commiseration, I shared this story with a friend, who, in return related her story about how her husband managed to become bedridden for three different moving events. Listening to her, I am reminded of another friend, who has also complained about her husband’s active nonparticipation when it comes to physical chores.
Can this phobic response to schlepping among male cohorts be just coincidence, or does it point to something more significant?
Armed with this anecdotal research, I have dared to form a hypothesis which, I admit, requires more evidence. I believe that the inherent drive to disengage from chores such as those described above may very well be genetic in nature, and ethnically linked.
At the risk of being culturally insensitive, I will refrain from identifying a class of people. However, data collection to back up my theory may very well begin with the Bible.
During the time of Moses, when the Hebrews fled Egypt, who do you think did the packing? No wonder there was no time to let the bread rise. The women were too busy filling burlap sacks and loading them onto camels. And I’m pretty sure it was Eve who packed when she and Adam has to leave the Garden of Eden. Although given the amount of clothing, it was probably just a small overnight bag.
So, to my female readers, if you have a story about a spouse with a psychosomatic response to packing or other physical chores, I’d be interested in adding it to my body of research. But it just may be that we’re struggling against nature.
By the way, that cold never materialized, and emails were postponed until after the car was packed. That’s the good news. We have arrived, and so has the car, which now has to be unpacked.
Has anyone seen my husband?
I get what you are saying, but apparently your husband’s packing avoidance has been learned after many years of successful results. Does that make you an enabler or a conflict avoider, or just a flexible spouse? It seems there are similar situations in every relationship, and we all have to decide which battles to choose. Luckily, my husband would never want me to pack for him, as I wouldn’t want someone else making those decisions on my behalf. However, he is the first one to invite people over for dinner or a party, for which I do the bulk of the planning and work. I’m sure that if asked, he would cite situational disparities in which he shoulders the burden, and he would be correct. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t get a wee tad aggravated about it.
I thinK I’d have to go back on the couch to figure that one out. I just thought it was funny that so many women had similar stories.
[…] After almost 40 years of marriage (to the same man), I realized how easy it was to let petty issues become irksome and rule the day. Fortunately, I became a humor writer, and learned to relish each little perceived misdeed as fodder for a new essay. […]