After work, I will be flying out of town for a long weekend. I have three concerns about traveling. First is the TSA work slowdown during the government shutdown. The second worry is weather, given I am flying to a northern state. Finally, I worry about what to pack. In many ways, the last is the worst.
I have trouble traveling light. I blame a horrible case of AD shiny. I mean, ADD. I don’t have trouble with clothes. I count the mornings I’ll be dressing and break that many pairs of underwear, socks, undershirts, and so on. I might have both tee shirts and undershirts plus sports shirt, but that’s about as complex as it gets. Where I get in trouble packing is books. I mean, I’ll be gone from home base Thursday morning through Tuesday evening. That’s a lot of reading time.
Here is a short list of current active reading. Professional reading consists of Techniques of the Selling Writer, All of Statistics, The Book of R, and Accelerated C++. Hobby reading right now consists of a lot of articles from old computer magazines from the 1970s such as Kilobaud and Byte for the HPD–12, COSMAC Elf, and Minimal 6502 projects. The Bradbury Challenge books are Team Ups and Crossovers, How to Travel with a Salmon, and Best Remembered Poems. My pleasure fiction is Sandokan: The Tigers of Mompracem. My normal inclination would be that plus some backups in case I wanted to read about model railroading, operating systems design, roleplaying games, the Rust programming language, or English history.
This might sound silly, but I sometimes take as many as six books to the bathroom for a bath, just in case.
While I resisted the eBook revolution for a long time, this was an important reason for me to embrace it finally. The other thing that pushed me over the edge was learning I could operate my tablet’s touch screen through a ziplock back and thus could safely use it in the tub.
The odd thing is, I am going to visit someone I don’t see much. You would think I wouldn’t worry about having enough to read because I’m not going there to read. Yet that is a natural worry for me. Being without reading material is rough, and I have read odd things just to be reading.
I resisted packing the two statistics books, but have the other two professional books. All three Bradbury Challenge books are in my backpack, although I have two in electronic form and may leave them on my desk at work. The fiction is already an eBook, and the magazine articles are all in old issues saved to pdf. I did pack two books not listed above, The Philosophical Programmer and Exercises for Programmers which is both useful and frustrating book. I also have the latest issues of Future Music and Music Tech for light reading.
I am well aware that is more than one physical book for each morning I wake up away from home.
I am also carrying two laptops. I cannot do day job work on my personal laptop or much private work on my work laptop. While I am on vacation, I want the ability to work remotely both in case of snow preventing an on-time return and the possibility of something breaking at work. Anyone who thinks high-end salary work is forty-hours a week with generous vacation has not done it.
I also can justify the extra books with the risk of being snowed in. Yes, I can, really.
That covers two of my concerns. The other is the TSA. I have arranged plenty of time for the up to two hour waits Atlanta has had. A friend flying to a conference in Arizona this morning got through in forty-five minutes. Being a veteran waiting in line is a still I developed decades ago. It isn’t my most used military skill, but it is up there.
My books are all in my backpack. It is going to be the worst part of a long TSA weight. Books are heavy as are laptops. While I can read in the line, I know my back will get all sweaty unless I carry the backpack.
Yes, I am mad about the extra TSA time not for the time. Like I said, I can use it to read. I am annoyed by the extra time wearing all the books I insist on carrying to fly.
But there are worse fates.
I have a darling girl to go see, books to keep me entertained and still learning, and the means and freedom to do both.