Monday, August 26, 2013

The Rachel Maddow Getaway Bag

Right now, there is a packed duffle bag in the closet by the front door of my apartment. In it, there are shirts, shorts, underwear, socks, shoes, and single serving toiletry items. There might be a bath towel, too, I can’t remember. That bag has remained unopened for over five years. I call it my “Rachel Maddow Getaway Bag.” I keep it packed just in case Rachel Maddow ever comes to where I live and asks me to drop everything and run away with her. Whenever she asks, I’ll go. Despite the food in the oven, the iron still on, or my internet history uncleared, I’ll just go. I’ll leave everything behind, and I’m always prepared to do so.
The odds of this ever happening aren’t good, but they also aren’t quite zero percent. I’d need a lot of ‘zeroes’ and a single ‘one’ to express the correct percentage, but it could never be just zero, so I’m prepared.
I bring that bag with me every time I move to a new place. When I dropped out of college for the first time to go play football and work on a farm in Serbia, I brought the bag. The next year, when I dropped out again to go play football and work on a farm – this time in Switzerland – the bag came with me, still unopened. I’ve quit jobs and moved away more times than I can remember, and that duffle bag always comes along, usually packed inside of a bigger bag.
I just can’t stand the thought of how I’d feel if Rachel ever came around and I didn’t have the bag. I imagine the nightmare scenario is where she knocks on my door and says, “Come with me right now. I have a helicopter waiting. Just trust me and come on.” And I say, “Hold on a second, let me go pack a bag.” I close the door a quarter of the way and sprint back to my closet. After I find a bag, stuff the cleanest of my clothes into it, and throw it over my shoulder, I come back to the door and Rachel is gone. When I step outside to look for her, I notice the whooshing sound of propellers slicing the air, and I look up to see Rachel at the helm of the ascending chopper, and she has a look in her eyes that says, “I’m sorry, Jonathan, but you blew it. This was your chance to get away, and you missed it, and now you’re stuck here.”

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