I hate packing. I hate it so much. “What makes you think you’re so darn unique?” you might be thinking. “Is your apartment SO much more complicated than everyone else’s!? Get over it!” you may say. But let me tell you what. For a self-proclaimed packrat like me, packing might just be worse. A lot worse.
Take for instance, the anguish I experienced upon finding a 5 oz packet of Vanilla Gu while going through the pantry.
“You hit the motherload!” my sister, Liz exclaimed.
Take it? Leave it? I was conflicted. On one hand, it was a perfectly good packet of Gu. Of note, my sister and I psychoanalyzed ourselves today and realized one of the reasons we both have a hard time throwing away excess (ie half-empty bottles of lotion whose scent you can no longer stand, an almost-empty bottle of spf 15 CVS brand sunblock, a Carmex container with about 2 finger-fuls left of 5-year old Carmex), is that we hear our mother’s voice saying “Why are you throwing away a perfectly good _____? I can use that. Give me that.” My sister’s best friend, Keri, was quick to point out that most people don’t fill bags with cast-aways their mother might want, nor do they decide against chucking a useless item because they might later need it for an alternate use (ie, you might want to use this scarf as a placemat someday.)
After all, the Gu was a palatable flavor, vanilla being one of my favorites. It would really hit the spot if you wanted to fill your whole Fuel Belt flask with the sugary gel for a long summer ride, perhaps. Moreover it was given to me by an ex-boyfriend. Ok, so he got it for free at work. In hindsight, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d stolen it (He was kind of a weasel on a good day). But still, it was a gift and I can’t help but feel sentimental about gifts.
On the other hand, it was given to me in the summer of 2005. Also, I don’t know where my Fuel Belt flask is, and I always use Power Gel if I am going to be ingesting that much gel in one day. Plus I hate taking gel from a flask anyway because I like to be consistent about my calories. Who knows how many calories are in a a few medium gulps of gel!?!? I prefer to take 100 calories at a time, thank you. But I couldn’t bear to put the perfectly good gel in the trash. I handed it to my sister and averted my eyes.
“Liz, please put this in the trash,” I requested.
“Really? Are you sure?”
“Please, just do it.”
“But what if you need it!? What if you’re trapped?” Liz laughed as she said it, as much at the prospect of being trapped with only Gu, as the absurdity of such a ridiculous quantity of Gu in one mammoth package, but I think she was half-serious. Maybe our brother isn’t the only one with an obsession with provisions for famine, after all… (see post entitled “Bearly Prepared.”)
Dang it. She wouldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. That left one person. Keri answered the call. She was willing, albeit hungry for more information.
“Wait. You eat this as a meal?” Her eyes were wide, her expression incredulous.
“Well not exactly as a meal, but you know, if you’re out riding or running for more than say an hour, you need calories, so this is instead of actual food because its easier to digest while you’re exercising.”
Whoa. And in the trash it went; the calories, the expired fructose, the butter-yellow and silver shiny outdated packaging, the memories, and all. And there you have it. A window to my maladaptive world, where a Gu is not just a Gu, but a stroll down memory lane, an expired power bar is an item to squirrel away in case of famine, and a hand-me-down shirt you haven’t worn in 3 years conjures memories of the person who gave it to you and visions of an imaginary time when it might come back into style. I must draw on all my resources (ie Keri) to get this job done before my lease ends.