Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A list of lists

Sarah and I returned from a family trip to Winthrop on Sunday evening, smelling slightly of wet gortex and with visions of legions of white tailed deer dancing in our heads, and hit the ground running on Monday. Our goal: To finish the last of the packing and planning by the end of the week, so that we could enjoy our last weekend in the States.

This required lists. Lots and lots of lists.

Sarah has a natural affinity for list creation and usage, but the Art Major in me has a natural aversion to them. That said, there are times in your life where lists are important, and you just have to sit back and let them run the show. Let's take a look at some of them, shall we...

"The Uber-List" - This list was created several months ago, to detail everything we need to get done before we get on the plan. The problem with this list though is that it's the written equivalent to the game of Asteroids. Or, possibly more accurately, the mythical Hydra. No sooner have you crossed one item off the list, than it is replaced with two or more new items. As a result, what started as a one page list detailing what we were supposed to do over the next several months has somehow expanded and evolved into a four page list detailing what we need to do this week. I'm not sure if we will ever conquer this list... but at some point, we'll just run out of time to do things and have to climb onto the plane regardless.

"The Cancel and Change Address List" - This list is hell. It's amazing how hard it is to become "disconnected" from society. No longer can a person just "up and leave." Instead, you have to systematically cancel all your memberships, extra credit cards, phone plans, cable, internet, etc. etc. Furthermore, none of the items in question actually want to be cancelled, so you are stuck dealing with salespeople who are actually trying to convince you of the advantages of maintaining your home internet connection while in Cambodia--even though you won't have a home.

In addition, you have to set up all your forwarding addresses, so that any wayward student loan bills or tax forms don't end up drifting around in post office limbo. The problem with this is that it involves hunting down long lost PIN numbers, visiting archaic government websites, and otherwise spending countless hours getting things accomplished at a rate that makes a glacier seem downright zippy.

...and all that isn't even mentioning the annoying automated telephone warrens that you have to navigate these days.

"The To Buy List" - Ah! A fun list! What sort of sandals to buy? Which quick-dry, wrinkle-free underpants? What book should I bring to read first? Everything on this list hints at the adventures that lie ahead of us. So, even though not every purchase may be a fun one, overall this list is a joy to plow though. If this list has a downside, it's that it's proving to be expensive.

"The Itinerary" - Sadly, this is the list that is probably the most neglected this week. But, from time to time, Sarah and I pass a glance back and forth, and we just know the other person is thinking about the same thing we are: the journey that lies ahead. A couple of times recently, someone has asked me the question: "Which place are you the most excited to be going?"

My current answer is, "at this point, I just want to be on the trip!"

Now, I'm sure that there are more lists. In fact, I know there are several stacked in the guest room of Stephanie and Patrick's house where we're currently couchsurfing. And there are probably a few kicking around upstairs on their kitchen counters. But I won't keep boring you all with them now. Needless to say, though, I may never love lists but I'm learning to live with them.

1 comment:

ambika said...

It's funny how disconnected I must have been before I even left for Prague not to have dealt with all of this drama. No internet connection, no cell phone and who needs a credit card? This time around, were I to try & up & leave again, I think it'd be much harder.

We're all so happy for you guys. Be safe!