Worst part of trip still inside luggage


I’m scared to open my suitcase.

Monday at 1 a.m. the Tabor College concert choir pulled into Hillsboro after an 11-day tour to the West Coast.

I’m very happy to be home, but I’m a little worried about what has been going on inside my luggage.

For the past week and a half, I’ve been living out of that suitcase, which means that for the last week and a half I have regularly been shifting the clean-to-dirty clothes ratio in favor of the dirty clothes.

For the record, I normally do not feel threatened by clothing. But once inside the dark, damp suitcase environment, I believe soiled clothing can easily take on a life of its own.

I’m worried that if I open it, a tentacle of dirty laundry will coil around my ankle and pull me in, like a bad Japanese science fiction movie with less special effects.

There are still a few items in there that I haven’t worn. The best case scenario is that the clean articles would have calmed down the dirty ones to where all I would need to counter the attack is a can of Febreze aerosol.

But here’s the deal: this suitcase has been sealed for three days now.

At least during the trip I would unzip the main compartment at least once a day to change clothes. I would even leave the whole thing open overnight on several occasions, just to let things “breathe” a little bit.

(I put quotation marks around the word breathe only because in this context it means “to smell up the rest of the room.”)

But now, a day after the two-day bus ride, my laundry has been ruminating in there for at least a good 72 hours. Any clean T-shirts or underwear have probably since joined the Dark Side, and the only Force that is taking place in there is the all-powerful Body Odor of Doom Force, which, as any physicist will tell you, is the most dangerous energy force known to man.

Besides the hairspray used on television evangelists, that is.

The worst part is that I know that I HAVE to open the suitcase sooner or later. I’m not Vanna White, who has had an unending wardrobe for nearly three decades now.

A very large portion of my entire wearable belongings are inside that suitcase right now. And I’m sure it reeks.

There are no things in the world that smell worse than a week and a half’s worth of laundry compacted into a 6-square-foot compartment.

Certain areas of Yellowstone National Park and the livestock section at county fairs come in as close runners-up. Also bus bathrooms.

We took a chartered tour bus all the way to California. Overall, this was a fairly enjoyable experience.

But charter buses have bathrooms. And when you get a large group of people on a charter bus, people are going to use it.

Remember in that one Indiana Jones movie when the Nazis opened the Arc of the Covenant and you could actually see the angriness come whooshing out and then the Nazis melted like a grape Popsicle in August? Well, that’s sort of what happened whenever somebody went to the bathroom.

I spent a while sitting in the back of the bus on the way home, and every time the door opened it was like all the oxygen was sucked out of the bus.

That said, I don’t even want to know what’s going to come whooshing out of my suitcase. I mean, there is a good 30 pounds of soiled laundry that has been congealing inside there for the last three days. It’s probably going to come springing out and knock me over.

But it’s a risk I have to take as I am rapidly running out of clean underwear. I’m just going to have to be very cautious.

I think I’ll go to the store first and arm myself with a can of Febreze and some long tongs. And maybe, while I’m out, some Nazis will come and open the suitcase first.

That would save me a lot of trouble.

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UFO: If you were wondering about the actual trip by now, you can read about the tour, look at pictures and listen to a few recordings on the Tabor College Music Weblog at blogs.tabor.edu/music.

Don’t ask why.


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