Andrew is completely sick of blogging. He can hardly stand it anymore. Consequently, I am going to pick up my assignment a little early, and take things over right now. Frankly, I don’t think Andrew can make it to the end of the month.
There are four more entries Andrew will write before he stops writing for a few months (or forever).
ONE—I will rely upon Andrew to write one more entry addressing compact discs we are listening to.
TWO—Andrew will write about the alleged Caspar David Friedrich painting owned by The National Gallery Of Art in Washington, a painting that is NOT by Caspar David Friedrich. I have been hectoring him to write about this misattribution since last November, when we saw the painting in question in Hamburg, but he has been resisting me. I made Andrew promise to address this issue before he exits the stage. It is an interesting story.
THREE—Andrew will write an entry about the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, an orchestra that is much misunderstood in the United States, even among so-called music experts. Andrew lived in Vienna for a year, and he attended performances at the Vienna State Opera almost nightly during that year, and he knows that orchestra and its history and its dynamics well.
FOUR—Andrew will write an entry about American conductors Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano and Kent Nagano, and how their activities have been covered, with varying degrees of accuracy, by music journalists. All three conductors were the subjects of recent profiles, one of which was startlingly honest, one of which was partially honest, and one of which was entirely dishonest. Outside of a handful of outposts such as Chicago, Dallas and Washington, American music criticism is in a dismal state, and Andrew is going to write about this distressing situation.
Andrew may or may not get these four assignments completed before we all depart for London.
Today, after work, Andrew took a bus from downtown to the suburban bookstore where I work.
He took me to dinner, and then we went shopping because I needed a few things for our London trip.
For our trip, I needed a new wallet, and a new wristwatch, and a new belt, and a new pair of shoes, and a new rain jacket. We found everything I needed, and we had a lot of fun finding just what I wanted. Normally, I hate shopping, and so does Andrew, but we like to shop together because we have a good time whenever we go shopping by ourselves. Even food shopping with Andrew is fun—in fact, food shopping with Andrew is one of my favorite things to do.
When we were done picking up what I needed, we went to a large food store and picked up all the personal grooming items we would need for London.
Andrew is very skillful when it comes to preparing for and packing things for a trip. He knows exactly how to do it.
The key is to keep things very simple. For instance, all of Andrew’s clothes for a trip are almost identical. His trousers are all the same: cotton-and-wool cuffed-and-creased trousers in shades of black, gray, very dark blue and dark blue. His shirts are all the same: cotton crew-neck shirt-sweaters in shades of black, gray, dark blue, blue and white. His shoes are the same: two pairs of stylish saddle shoes with firm soles. For London, he will take one light tan rain jacket, with lots of hidden interior pockets. Throw in boxer shorts, socks and sleep gear, and Andrew’s packing for fifteen days away from home is simple as pie. Every item of clothing is interchangeable, every item of clothing is easily folded and packed, and every item of clothing is simple and stylish and equally suitable for daytime strolling and evening concert- or theater-going. And Andrew can get all of this clothing, packed perfectly neatly and perfectly tightly, into one medium-sized piece of luggage!
Andrew is so good at this, in fact, that his brother has Andrew prepare HIS clothes and luggage for their trips together, too. Andrew’s brother leaves his travel clothes in Minneapolis, and Andrew gets his brother’s clothes and luggage ready, exactly as he does his own, and he takes his brother’s bag to the Minneapolis airport and he gives it to his brother right before check-in at the international desk. It works out perfectly for both of them, because all Andrew has to do is to pack the same things twice. It is very efficient!
I learned the benefits of The Andrew System last year for our trip to Hamburg, and I am now a confirmed disciple of The Andrew System. I pack exactly as Andrew packs, with one departure: my clothing uses a different color scheme. My trousers are all dark brown and dark green, and my shirt-sweaters are all dark green, rust, light brown, tan, yellow and white.
All three of us use our carry-on bags for our books and our compact disc players, which leaves plenty of room for gifts for the return journey.
For us three, preparing for a fifteen-day journey is a snap! It requires virtually no thought, and very little planning or preparation.
Andrew’s parents, however, are not utilizers of The Andrew System. They pack a far larger variety of clothes, and take far larger pieces of luggage. It takes them a couple of days to decide what to take and to get everything together.
This weekend, Andrew will get his brother’s clothing prepared and his brother’s luggage packed. His brother’s stuff will be all ready to go by Sunday night. Andrew even does his brother’s personal gear and shaving kit for him, because he knows precisely what his brother likes and needs. And Andrew’s brother never worries that Andrew will forget anything, or leave anything behind, or leave something out. He has total confidence that Andrew will take care of him.
It’s a pretty good system!