Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just a Travellin' Woman

I've hit South Florida, Atlanta, and Northern Nevada in the past weeks, and Montreal and the Cuban Art exhibit loom.

Today, I was thinking of my first trip to Europe as a young bride, and how simple packing used to be if you were 23.

Drug-wise (in the pharmacy sense), I just packed my birth control pills. Clothes? Yeah, too many and they all required ironing. Europe, esp. northern Europe, had a cold summer and I packed for the tropics. Froze my ass. Biggest humiliation was that I was too skinny (103 lbs) to fit into any of the European sizes, so my mother in law, bless her, took me into the children's department and found me a skirt and sweater than fit. In those days (dark ages), there was nothing smaller than an 8 in the stores.

There were no hot rollers, no phone chargers to pack. Maybe a bulky hair dryer. I always had my hair "done," and again, the new inlaws were awed by my fine, oily hair and tut-tutted (nicely) about how the styling lasted about a day. The impossibly skinny daughter in law with bad hair came to be loved by all and returned the affection.

There was no airport security. I took along a suitcase big enough to hold the clothing of a regiment, including a hat, gloves and a spring coat. Do spring coats still exist? I still have an old Jaeger duster type of coat hanging in the closet. Never wear it.

No cell phones, of course, most of which don't work in Europe anyhow. We ate lunch at a two starred Michelin restaurant in Paris, Laperouse. Meat, fish, white wine, red wine, souffle for dessert and the bill was $20.00. We staggered out, amazed at our discovery. We had never spent $20. for a meal. I think it would easily be $200.00 now. For lunch.

The dollar has shit the bed. Sorry for the profanity, but sometimes language needs to be muscular. In those days you could get 5 francs or 4 DM for a dollar. High on the hog.

I will have to contact all the agents I sent email queries to, because there was a huge problem with my spam folder. And how the postage has gone up and one fears the agents will toss one's query into the waste basket because they don't want to add a 1 cent stamp to the SASE.

Sometimes I wonder is it worth it. Daily. Who knows?


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