Today I would like to talk about my double life. I am not especially proud of my double life, but perhaps if I get stuff off my chest, I will feel better about things and more able to move on. I’ve heard this “airing-dirty-laundry” technique works all the time in Hollywood.

Today I would like to talk about my double life.


I am not especially proud of my double life, but perhaps if I get stuff off my chest, I will feel better about things and more able to move on. I’ve heard this “airing-dirty-laundry” technique works all the time in Hollywood.


Here goes. My double life crops up whenever I travel. What happens is this:  Before I leave to go anywhere, I become someone who I am clearly not.


For example, I am not an ironer; and, in fact, iron so infrequently that when I dragged out the rusty appliance one day, my son, a teen at the time, said, “What’s that?”


And yet, oddly, I iron the clothes I pack, as well as the clothes I wear before heading to my destination.


Believe me, I don’t know why I care about clothing wrinkles while traveling (when they’re a rock-bottom priority during daily living), but apparently I do. Being seen as “crisp” somehow matters when I am in foreign places, needing the kindness of strangers.


I also only pack my “good” versus my “bad” underwear. Since (if we are being totally honest here), we all know the difference between the two, I do not feel the need to delve into the respective characteristics…the varying shades of gray…the threadbare seams…the tattered holes...the elastic that has the holding power of old celery.
For this double-life behavior, I can only blame my mother and her “clean-underwear” rule, a rule that continues to haunt my accident-prone existence.


Officer: “I…I don’t think she’s going to make it.”


Paramedic: “Too bad. She was wearing clean underwear, you know.”


Officer: “She must have been a fine, upstanding citizen.”


Paramedic: “A pillar of the community.”  


Officer: “…who wore her ruffles well. Indeed, she will be sorely missed.”


Another bizarre double-life behavior? I clean my office before taking off. I file papers that have been languishing for months; I straighten books; I empty trash cans; I remove Cheese Doodles from my keyboard; I take down cobwebs; I toss month-old coffee. I know: it’s crazy! I’m not fooling anyone, especially my family who knows what a hamster I can be.


Another? I write thank-you notes, some so delinquent they predate my wedding.

“Dear Aunt Melba: Thank you so much for the little pill box you gave me when I graduated from high school. I didn’t get the significance then, but, boy oh boy, do I get it now! Love, Anne.”


And then the day before I go? I fanatically pay bills and schedule appointments. Am I a madcap nut – or what? I never pay bills on time (oops – sorry, dear!) and my MO for scheduling appointments typically starts with, “If you could squeeze me in today…”


Anyway, I don’t know what gets into me before I travel. It’s as if some prisspot sits on my shoulder, directing me to clean up my act in the event that I topple headfirst into an active volcano. But there it is – that’s my double life. Phew! What a load off to finally talk about it!  For all its strangeness, Hollywood knows a thing or two about soul resurrection.


But, please – please! – don’t think less of me now. While I may not be the most “pressed” person in the world or the tidiest or the most organized, I somehow manage to run a fairly tight ship. Oh, all right, the ship may in fact be a little loose, but I think I’ve said enough about my undergarments as it is.


Anne Palumbo writes this weekly column for Messenger Post Newspapers. E-mail: avpalumbo@aol.com.