The Things He Carried

packing for the pole

This is all the stuff I’ve set out for taking. I hope to still edit it a bit.

There’s a scene in a movie — I think it’s Platoon— where the Sergeant who has been in-country for a few tours meets the new guy assigned to him. The first thing he does it go through the new guy’s pack and start throwing things out of it. I look at this pile of assembled stuff, and man, I don’t need much of it at all.

There are a few luxury items, like a set of red flannel sheets which will probably turn everything else pink, even though I’ve washed them three times. There’s my pillow. There’s no way I’m leaving the chocolate behind, so that’s not really a luxury.

Some of the stuff is essential. My perscription meds. My pretend-meds, like vitamins, melatonin, and Carmex. Okay, I bet Carmex isn’t essential. As I said before, if I showed up with just my passport at the airport, I could probably get to the pole, but people would be unhappy with me. My paperwork. Oh please don’t let me lose track of my paperwork.

Some of the stuff I’m taking on what feels like good advice, even though it feels silly. Pretend greenery to decorate my room a little. I won’t see a lot of green growing things, and I might be able to fake my brain into thinking I do. My own thermals, even though they would issue me some. Says a veteran of several deployments, “The issued gear is completely, and totally sufficient, that’s it. It’s not great, it’s reused, and it’ll keep you warm enough.” So no, I’ll bring my own light-weight merino wool undies, glove liners, and neck gaiter. A flamingo for mental health. A Mystery Spot bumper sticker. Maybe another should go, so I can leave one at the pole and have one in New Zealand on the way back. An e-reader, because I’ll do a lot of e-reading. A camera.

I’ll probably do some editing before I pack it, which should be tonight, aside from some last-minute things. And it will all be fine.

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One response to “The Things He Carried

  1. Wait, I brought my sun hat? One thing fewer I need to buy in Christchurch!

    It’s interesting to see this now that I’ve been here long enough to get perspective. I think I packed pretty well. I don’t think I brought a lot of excessive stuff, and there’s no lack that has been a huge burden.

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