Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Best-Laid Plans

I'm sorry, readers, but I never cared much for Robert Burns.  I know that's an invitation to have my head taken off with a claymore.  His poetry has some good lines, but he took (stole) most of it from traditional sources, slapped his name on the verses, and went about spouting it at parties where he was guaranteed plenty of food and whiskey. He was lazy, a womanizer, petty, vain and greedy.  Other than that he was all right. (If you are related to Robert Burns or a member of the Robert Burns Society, whose members meet occasionally to declaim his poetry, eat haggis and drink scotch, this is just my opinion. Please don't make me wear a kilt.)

Anyhow, the line I used for the title is "The best-laid plans o' mice and men gang aft a-gley." Burns putatively wrote this line at part of a poem that came to him after turning up (he said) a mouse's nest with a plow. I doubt this since plowing involves actual work.  But to the matter...

I have put a lot of time and energy into thinking about and actually packing this past month with the trip to Europe and now to Lynchburg. There's always the question of what to take.  Sometimes I envy those nineteenth century travelers who went about with huge crates and steamer trunks. Of course, they had servants to do the heavy lifting, not a couple of one-inch diameter plastic wheels. Obviously, when we pack we have to limit ourselves to what we can lift or roll.

Some things are givens: underwear, clothes, toiletries, reading matter, cell phone, journal, laptop, etc. With some things it is a good idea to have a duplicate: on this trip I have a laptop and a netbook.  You can never be too careful. And I learn from each trip what I should have brought. In Europe I acquired a sunburn that made some people ask if I had been in Bermuda.  Also wish I had brought binoculars. Live and learn.

One recommendation I've seen is to take two pairs of glasses.  I know why now. On the way down a little screw popped loose from my prescription glasses and the right lens fell out.  I tried for several hours to put the screw back in (it's literally a millimeter long) but couldn't do it without the right tools. Shoulda brought another pair.  As it turned out, Becky had brought two pairs of reading glasses and I am able to use one. Sometimes it's not what you know, it's who you're with.

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