When packing to go on a trip, even a simple overnighter, I make lists. The list of baggage to pack includes clothes the kids will need, clothes I will need, games and supplies we may want or need, food plans for all, and making sure the vehicle’s gas tank is full.
The list of baggage that stays includes lining up care for the pets, mail pick-up, and having someone check on the house. I am the Baggage Handler. I ready us for departure on time safely, comfortably, and optimistically, excitedly anticipating the vacation.
My husband’s preparations are different. He packs the items he may want or need for himself, just at departure time, causing delays. He is the Pilot; the hierarchy controls the departure process, exercises authority over the passengers, assumes the pilot’s right to replace others’ baggage with his own, and repacks the bags. The pilot is in charge, is the final authority. All this is done under the appearance of taking care of the passengers, of the entire flight plan, as only a pilot is able to accomplish. The passengers all smile, but inside we are terrified of crashing.
After ten years of constant deterioration and little maintenance, something’s going to wear out. We crashed and burned, and the pilot was fired. Since the divorce, packing for trips, and many other things, has become much less turbulent for all of the passengers. Guess what? It turns out that I make a darned fine pilot–as if I was born to help us fly. I am also finally handling the baggage.