January 5th, 2009

storyteller doll

Alarm Clocks, Flashlights and Hats

The three types of objects in the subject line are linked by being travel necessities for me. An alarm clock is, however, the thing I am most likely to forget to pack. As a result, I have a lot of travel alarm clocks, purchased when I realized I had once again forgotten one. Usually that means picking one up at an airport, which has gotten increasingly difficult over the past few years. The most fun and frustration was the time I had to buy one in Santiago, Chile. My Spanish is limited at best. I knew "clock" is "reloj" but I had to get the hotel desk clerk to write down what the "alarm" part was. The actual clock I bought has all its little words for the controls entirely in English, by the way.

I've never forgotten to pack a flashlight, probably because I just keep one in my camera bag. However, I have had them die variously untimely deaths. Thus, I have bought flashlights in places like Zimbabwe and Fiji. Inevitably, one can only buy huge D-battery using ones, instead of the nice miniature ones I typically favor. I've now taken to packing a second flashlight. That practice saved me from having to buy one in Madagascar. Somewhat surprisingly, I never had to use either flashlight on my recent trip to Cambodia and Thailand.

As for hats, they are easily obtained, though I do usually manage to remember to pack one. But hats pose a different kind of packing problem because I have an odd superstition regarding them. I consider it horribly bad luck for my hat to ever come into any sort of contact with my bed. Since I tend to put my bag on my bed when I'm packing, this can be rather inconvenient. I know this is entirely absurd, but we are all entitled to a few harmless quirks.

There is a seed of a story in all of this, which will probably not germinate for several months.