Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why am I dumb when I travel?

If you are familiar with the movie Airplane! then you will appreciate the fact that "Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home." For some reason that line always struck me as particularly funny. But if you think about it, we all do things when we travel that we wouldn't necessarily do at home. Eat questionable local food. Talk to strangers. Be seen in public in a swimsuit. When we're away from home, we're just generally more carefree and fun.

For reasons that aren't relevant to this story, my family and I had a need to travel out of town this week. As usual when we travel there have been a few things that haven't gone exactly as planned, but so far it's still been a good trip. Except for this morning in the shower, when it struck me that I do something really dumb when I travel.

I've done my share of traveling, so I'm typically fairly proficient at it. I come prepared. Extra clothes, precautionary measures for potential mishaps, plenty of snacks and things to keep the kids entertained. You know how it goes. But for some reason - and I don't know why it took me this long to question it - I very rarely bring my own shampoo, and hardly ever bring my own body wash.

Everything else that I might need... I bring my own. But apparently because the hotel always provides soaps, shampoos, and conditioners, something inside of me always says that I don't need to pack any of that. Does part of me feel some sort of obligation to use it? Like, if they went to the trouble of putting it there then it would somehow be rude to just leave it untouched? Am I worried I'll offend the housekeeping staff? I don't know.

Whatever the reason, it's stupid. The soap that hotels provide, no matter how much it claims to be "moisturizing," will dry your skin out horribly. The shampoo, no matter how much it claims to be "conditioning," will also dry out your hair. And possibly make it smell funny, as was my experience this morning. (It claimed to smell like rosemary - which I already thought was questionable, because why would you want your hair to smell like rosemary? - but it actually smelled like cheap men's cologne.) That's even worse than smelling like rosemary. Trust me.

But perhaps, like so many unexpected situations turn out to be, this will end up being a good thing. Maybe I will actually learn my lesson this time. Maybe it was the proverbial spark that I needed to change a bad habit. Maybe this will be the last time I come home from a trip with dry skin and weird smelling hair. Time will tell, I suppose.

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