When I travel, and even when I don’t, I’m both a schlepper and a non-schlepper. It’s in the worrywart’s nature to schlep. For example, I take seven pens in case six run out of ink. On the other hand, my back hurts when I carry things. To show you how serious the carry problem can get, I went to Obama’s inauguration and, fearing my Canon mini was too heavy, I settled for using the camera in my cell phone (the kind of cheap phone Verizon gives you for having stayed for two years and promising to stay for another or risk having them raid your savings account).
The non-schlepping also relates to my lack of patience/inability to wait at airports for checked suitcases. And above all, I’m dedicated to sparing my bags from the bedbug orgy in luggage compartments.
But one non-negotiable schlep is my food bag, for which I use a nearly weightless nylon tote that I double in case I need an extra tote for something. The doubling is like having compartments because I slip things like receipts and my water bottle between the two bags.
The following will give you an idea of all the food I’m schlepping home as I write this on the train from NY to DC. (If the idea of reading the list of traveling groceries doesn’t sing to you, you may want to skip the next two paragraphs, after which I have a feeling I am going to diverge from the schlepping theme to the food theme and examine why, for example, I never leave home without a food bag.)
In my wheelie bag, rolled up in assorted plastic bags, are a jar of crunchy organic peanut butter that I bought yesterday at the Fairway at 132nd St., having rented a bike and pedaled along the Hudson to get there. Also in my bag from that same market where the carts are barely narrower than the aisles is a package of whole wheat English muffins, a bag of peanuts, a bag of hard pretzels, a bag of Snyder’s unsalted minis, 3 Nirvanna organic 72% dark chocolate bars that I’ve been searching all over the place for and half of a semolina bread twist.
The other half of the semolina twist is in my food bag along with a deli container of chopped liver, (pause: the mere mention of chopped liver requires me to stop right here and eat some), three tomatoes, two peanut butter sandwiches, ZipLoc bags containing 5 varieties of pretzels, a peach, paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins, and maybe some other stuff I can’t even find.
So, what’s with the food bag? What might happen if one day I were to save the hour I spend preparing the pre-trip food bag and skip out of the house with only my backpack and my wheelie? The worst things I can think of are 1. that I would be dependent on train/airport food and 2. that I would get hungry and not have any chopped liver to reach for.
Well, I don’t really need to explore this any further, since both of those scenarios are unacceptable.