Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Packing Hell

Family vacations have an iconic place within American culture. Chevy Chase's National Lampoon movies poked fun at them, and yet millions of photo albums are packed with pictures immortalizing the adventures of people from all walks of life.

For the Snarks, a weekend away starts with one spouse making lists. To Do in order to be ready to leave. To Bring so the trip proceeds smoothly. To Notify of the pending absence. 

Preparations are made in order for preparations to become possible. For a two day absence, Mrs. Snark obsesses over minutiae and details for a solid week in advance. She makes special trips to the store to purchase last minute items and loses hours of sleep due to emergency planning.

The other Snark spouse does NOTHING. 

Mr. Snark walks past a pile of food concentrated on the kitchen counter and stops to stare. "You know, they have stores where we're going," he says.

"Yes, but it costs a fortune to purchase every single spice I might need," Mrs. Snark says. "And besides, the kids will need snacks in the car."

"It's only four hours," Mr. Snark counters. "And we stop for lunch halfway."

"Get out of my kitchen or I'll give you something to do!" Mrs. Snark says, shooing the pesky man from the room.

Days advance and Mrs. Snark continues to make busy with her preparations. About two days before the trip is due to be undertaken, she says to Mr. Snark. "Shouldn't you pack?"

Like a turtle, Mr. Snark makes slow reply. "I will. Eventually."

One day before the trip, Mrs. Snark says, "When are you going to pack?"

"Soon," Mr. Snark says. "Don't worry."

Twelve hours.  "PACK DAMMIT!"

((yawning))  "I'll do it in the morning."


"I'm doing that now."

A half hour past the designated departure time, the Snark minivan rolls out of the driveway. "We're late because of you," Mrs. Snark declares bitterly.

All of her careful preparations--for naught. Her schedule--in shambles.

"It's not my fault that you pack everything but the kitchen sink for a weekend away," Mr. Snark snaps, and the van rolls merrily onward.

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