Writer | Editor
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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Choose Your Own Adventure: A Meditation On Packing

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: January 2015

It’s 11:56pm. You’re flying out from the San Francisco airport tomorrow afternoon. Others might choose to visit a tropical destination in the winter, or take a quick trip to the coast to stand on a cold beach and reflect on all their mistakes (and there have been many), but not you, smartiepants. Brace yourself, idiot—you’re going to the Midwest. Minnesota, specifically. Land of fried things and the largest ball of twine in the country (Fame!). It all started when one of your favorite people moved back to the land of corn-fed accents and the never-ending supply of jokes about people from Iowa.1 It’s time to pack. You now have some serious decisions before you:

A. You stay up packing until 2am.

After a few hours of restless sleep wherein you have relentless stress dreams about missing your flight, you awake to find that you have indeed missed your flight. To simulate the Minnesota experience, you spend the weekend eating your weight in deep fried cheese while mourning the absurd and paltry hours of every liquor store in town.

B. You get all your packing done in a timely fashion.

What an adult you are! Your mom was wrong about you, you definitely have your shit together. Instead of all that last minute shuffling you’d normally do, you spend the twelve hours leading up to your flight looking through all the dogs available in northern California on Petfinder. At the last minute, you ditch out on your flight to Minnesota, choosing instead to drive at breakneck speed to Redding to save the cutest little Kelpie on death row.

C. In keeping with your packing traditions of the past, you drink a bottle of wine to help you relax.

When you arrive in Minnesota you open your bag to find all you’ve packed is more wine and wool socks. No wine key. You soothe your mental and emotional anguish by going to the Mall of America and throwing wine bottles through the windows of Alpaca Connection and the Hard Rock Cafe. Your trip to the midwest culminates with your worst mugshot to date, and a carry on packed to the gills with broken glass.

D. You struggle valiantly to get your column in before the looming deadline, while you really should be packing.

Somewhere in between trying to sort socks by warmth and trying to find a good graphic for your column, you fall into a Google vortex, simultaneously confounded and and impressed by the high number of image search results of dogs in airplane costumes.

Arielle Mullen