- One Suitcase
- A Good time, had by all
- Balled-up dirty laundry
- A remaining clean outfit
- Good intentions mixed with a tendency to miss detail
Step one: Go on a cruise with your parents. Live it up in Mexico. Get a real good sunburn--I mean--tan. Eat unusual foods. Order everything on the menu. Remark about the charming accents of your international wait staff. Dress up for meals and take charming photos. Partake of the soft serve ice cream machine. Laugh about poop deck.
Step two: Listen, distractedly, as Dad tries to explain luggage packing and removal procedures for the night before you will dock and leave the ship. Decide caring about these details can wait until just before you dock.
Step three: The night before, listen again as Dad explains luggage packing and removal procedures, this time with decidedly more attentiveness. He tells you:
A) pick an outfit to wear as you walk off the ship and leave it out of your suitcase
B) pack everything else in your suitcase
C) make sure you didn't miss anything or leave it in the room
D) put the tags on your suitcase
E) put your suitcase in the hall for the porter to pick up
F) leave an appropriate tip in the room for the housekeeping staff
Step four: Decide that this is no sweat, you can handle the outfit-picking and the suitcase-packing. You will have the suitcase in the hall on time for the porter. Do as instructed. Fold tomorrow's clothes neatly and stack on vanity counter. Check room over multiple times to make sure you did not overlook anything or forget to shove it into your suitcase with the dirty laundry. Sit on suitcase to force it shut, and make your sister help you zip it closed.
Step five: Survey your newly cleaned and neatly packed room. Self-congratulate. Place suitcase in hall. Go to bed. Check that outfit one more time. Did you really remember to leave it out? Yes you did. You're so smart. Fall asleep.
Step six: Wake up. Pick up your clothes. Go get dressed and prepare to leave the ship. Exit the bathroom and see your sister. Immediately realize she is wearing shoes. Look down at your own bare feet and realize that every pair of shoes you have was in that suitcase. That suitcase that they took away last night.
Step seven: Panic.
Step eight: Run around stateroom, trying to find a pair of shoes. Open and close door, checking to see if suitcase is gone. Panic some more when you realize that it is.
Step nine: Accept your barefoot shame. Leave your room. Wait in long lines, walk the length of the entire ship, envying people with shoes. Spend hours in holding areas, waiting, waiting, wishing you had just remembered a pair of flip flops. Finally, when it's your turn, exit the ship and walk down the ramp.
Step ten: Step back onto American soil in your naked feet.
For the next few weeks I'm writing in response to prompts from The Scintilla Project. Check it out.
Tell a story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual .