My childhood was spent in the same house from birth to college. Once I started college, however, I moved every single year until I married Lizard – we’ve only moved four times in the seven years we’ve been married. (Ha!)
My experience tells me there are two types of packers: the Reminiscer and the Resolute.
Let me start with the least friendly packer, the Resolute.
Just like the Webster’s description (admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering) the Resolute packer is a steam engine that cannot be stopped. Put the Resolute in a house uninterrupted with a stack of boxes and the house will be packed in approximately 60 minutes.
The Resolute looks at life practically. Ski goggles from the vacation 6 years ago that have never been used since? Goodwill. Gas medication from 2003 that has – imagine that! – expired with the passage of time? Trash bag, no questions asked. Stacks and order rule.
As a foil to the Resolute, the Reminiscer exists.
A Reminiscer prefers to indulge in enjoyable recollections of past events. That each tangible item is tied to an event or memory that packing gives the Reminiscer the opportunity to revisit with pleasure.
The ski goggles? Instead of a practical assessment of their utility (a la the Resolute) the Reminiscer sits down on the floor, gently cups the goggles in their hands, and remembers the exhilaration of learning to ski, the crisp smell of the mountain ski run, the intense joy in soaking in hot springs the evening after their first day on the slopes.
The Reminiscer may go so far as to put the ski goggles on their head and wear it around the house for awhile in honor of the memory of the ski trip six years ago that introduced them to a whole new world of outdoor adventure sporting.
After awhile the Reminiscer will sigh, turn from the goggles and may or may not decide to give them to Goodwill. That decision will rely on the enjoyment they’ve just received from reliving the ski trip in their mind.
The Reminiscer will slowly consider each item to be packed and, after coming to the expired gas medication in the medicine cabinet, will pause with the medication in their hand, remembering how important it was for them to get this particular brand of gas medication, the misadventure that brought the purchase about, the significance of the passage of time that has caused the medication to expire.
The Reminiscer will consider the impact of almost a decade of living without enough gas pain to finish the box off before it expired. The Reminiscer may then spend time in quiet thanksgiving that their body has been working appropriately.
As you may imagine, the Reminiscer may finish packing the house in 4.3 years if given uninterrupted time and stacks of packing boxes.
Each type of packer has its positive and negative traits but if you really want to see some fun action, get a Resolute and a Reminiscer together, have them marry, and then get them to move 60 times in 5 years. If you can arrange that sit back with a bag of popcorn and a reclining chair and just watch the fireworks.
The Resolute will think, “Today is the day I will be packing the bedroom. My spouse needs to pack the bedroom too so the whole room is ready to go at the same time.”
While the Resolute packs 34 boxes in 15 minutes the Reminscing spouse will be slowly inching through their own packing task. The Reminiscer will likely interrupt the thought process of the Resolute many, many times with memories they want to relive together – the Resolute will begin to feel attacked and bothered because the Reminiscer continues to catch their attention with unrelated topics.
It’s unlikely this oddly matched pair will end the day without conflict, though the hope is that manslaughter is not involved.
Are there any other types of packers in the world?