Flotsam and gearsam

There are so many tiny odds and ends that I still need, that I just know I need, for this trip. I keep acquiring these bits, flotsam and detritus of gear, tiny LED lights, bitty leathermans, featherweight mirrors, lengths of skinny cord. I don’t think I’ve made it all the way to the lightweight mentality yet – what’s lighter than lightweight? Nothing. Oh well. I’ll shake the crumbs out as I go. Can’t turn myself into hiker trash overnight.

Today I went to REI to fill my need for consumer goods. The aisles filled with nifty gadgets and ingenious gizmos failed to contain almost everything I was looking for. Shiny items all down the row and an empty hanger for me. I paid for most my new, pricey crumbs with a refund on a broken water filter (if anyone decides to buy the katadyn vario, be careful with it – the intake nipple broke off on the first use). Despite having had the filter for years, the first time I tried to use it was a few weeks back, and it broke. Looks like I’ll be replacing it with something else.

Then when I tried to take it back at the checkout, the manager at REI informed me that the return policy had changed. What?? Isn’t the magical return policy the entire reason anyone shops at REI? I always wondered how that policy was working out for them; turns out it wasn’t. (For the curious, you can now only return items within the first year after purchase.) After hassling me a bit the manager ended up giving me the refund anyway, looking the whole time like I’d spat in her breakfast. Serving up favors with a side of scowl, I guess. I can’t see the point of helping somebody out if you’re just going to be mean about it, but I’ll take the refund and skedaddle.

I wish it was time to go, that all the chores were done and apartments cleaned and boxed and licensing exams writ and nowhere to go but forward.