Many people are talking these days about the sacrifices some wives make in the name of their husband’s career.
There are times, as a wife, to fall on your spear in a corporate marriage.
“Honey, it would be great if you would sleep with McMillan MacDougall so we can get a better shot at managing MacDougall Industries pension funds.” That would be one.
“Tell the SEC that you directed the destruction of those documents so me and good old Peyton Wentworth don’t lose our trading licenses.” That sort of thing.
But carry-on luggage isn’t one of them.
In my former incarnation, I was the wife a corporate CEO. We traveled in groups of forty to four hundred regularly.
I packed for these soul-fortifying corporate boondoggles in a small regulation carry-on bag.
I did it because, to my husband, carry-on luggage meant mobility and agility. To me, it meant looking like a Sunday newspaper insert for “easy care” separates that I could pay for over time.
Now take it easy. I am aware this is not one of the greatest sacrifices ever made.
But you try producing suitable outfits for events described as “Adriatic Casual,” and “Weekday Evening Upscale” from what is essentially the size of diaper bag.
They might a well have said “ festive mammal coverings” or “resort flesh adornment.”
Some of the other wives packed as if they were escaping Czarist Russia. Lucky devils.
My choice was carry-on or carry on, as it were.
I have one memory that clearly illustrates the inventiveness and sheer bravery that one must possess to turn one outfit into another.
We were at a resort in the Napa Valley and my spouse decided to work out after a day of meetings.
“But you only packed business clothes, and your bathing suit,” I pointed out.
And my point was? Scarlet O’Hara’s outfit comprised of drapes had nothing on this get-up.
Soon, we were trudging down a path to the spa building. He had thrown together a unique and serviceable outfit: his bathing suit, purchased a decade ago, served as shorts. A plain white t-shirt would cause no stir. Any port in a storm for shoes: black brogues paired with knee-length white socks.
Rising to the challenge. I had put on athletic shorts, my pajama top and slipped into black sandals (these were meant to take me from day to night and apparently to the treadmill).
The workout room was located next to the pool. So our Beverly Hillbillies-like appearance could be seen by everyone else on our trip. Swell! Maybe I could fall out of the plane bathroom on the flight home and moon them all to complete my humiliation.
My spouse had been with the company his entire career. So he took the good-natured shouts of “Get a second job, and buy some tennis shoes,” and “My eyes, my eyes!” in the spirit they were intended.
I am made of weaker stock. I walked behind him mumbling, “I can look a lot better than this,” and “He made me do it.”
It’s funny how one sacrifice is replaced by another: my life now involves a lot less travel, but a whole bunch more luggage when I do.