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0619 Packing Clothes for a Trip

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 619: Packing Clothes for a Trip.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 619. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

You can support this podcast by making a donation on our website or, even better, becoming an ESL Podcast member. As a member, you will get the Learning Guides for the current episodes. These guides are 8- to 10-page PDF files that contain the complete transcript of everything we say plus a lot more. Go to our website at eslpod.com for more information.

This episode is called “Packing Clothes for a Trip.” It’s a dialogue between Nick and Mariah using vocabulary you would associate with travel and clothing. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Nick: Aren’t you done packing yet? We need to leave for the airport in 15 minutes.

Mariah: I’m almost done. I just need to finish packing my garment bag.

Nick: You’re bringing a garment bag? What for?

Mariah: For my dresses, of course. I don’t want them to get wrinkles in them. I have a bag for shoes, belts, handbags, and other accessories; two suitcases for clothes, swimsuits, underwear, and socks; and a carry-on for my makeup and toiletries.

Nick: What do you need all that for?!

Mariah: I’m preparing for all contingencies. You never know what situation you’ll be in when you travel, and I want to be equipped with anything I’ll need.

Nick: I should have expected this when I married a clothes horse. I’m surprised you didn’t bring your entire wardrobe.

Mariah: I was thinking about it. I’m sure I can make room. All of my bags are expandable.

[end of dialogue]

Nick asks Mariah, “Aren’t you done packing yet?” “Aren’t you done” meaning aren’t you finished packing yet. “To pack” (pack) means to put things in a box or a bag or a suitcase – which you could also call luggage – especially for traveling. So if you are going on a trip, you need to put clothing and other things in some sort of bag or suitcase so that you can carry it. Nick says, “We need to leave for the airport in 15 minutes (we need to go to the airport in 15 minutes).”

Mariah says, “I’m almost done (I’m almost finished). I just need to finish packing my garment bag.” A “garment” (garment) is, in the general sense, a piece of clothing, something you wear. Here, “garment bag” is a special kind of suitcase that is used for dresses or formal jackets that a man or a woman might wear. The top of the garment bag has a “hangar,” which is that y-shaped thing you put your clothes on when you put them in a closet for example. So, a garment bag is used for transporting your clothes so they don’t get all wrinkled in the suitcase. We’re going to talk about “wrinkled” in a moment.

Nick says, “You’re bringing a garment bag? What for?” meaning why. Mariah explains, “For my dresses, of course. I don’t want them to get wrinkles (wrinkles) in them.” A “wrinkle” as a noun, or the verb “to wrinkle,” means in this case to have these lines – thin lines in the material of the clothing when it isn’t put into the suitcase properly. When, for example, you would take a shirt and instead of folding it, that is instead of making it smaller and flat in a neat way, you would take it and just roll it up in a ball and throw it in your suitcase. Well, that’s going to result in wrinkles. So, it’s when your clothing isn’t straight or flat. “Wrinkle” has a couple of different meanings, and those can be found in the Learning Guide.

Mariah is taking a garment bag so her dresses don’t get wrinkles in them. She says, “I have a bag for shoes (what she wears on her feet), belts,” a long piece of leather or fabric that you put around your waist, usually to hold up your pants. So a man would have a belt; I wear a belt with my pants so they don’t fall down – that would be embarrassing! “Belt” has a couple of different meanings, and those, once again, are in the Learning Guide. So, Mariah has a bag for shoes, belts, handbags, and other accessories. A “handbag” (handbag – one word) is also called a “purse.” It’s a bag that a woman has in her hand or over her shoulder that she puts her money and her wallet and her makeup and all sorts of mysterious things that men never understand. That’s called a handbag. “Accessories” are anything you wear in addition to your basic clothing (a shirt, pants, a dress), anything extra that makes you, perhaps, look more beautiful. Never makes me look more beautiful! It’s not necessarily a piece of clothing. It could be the belt, it could be a hat, it could be a piece of jewelry. All of these are possible accessories.

Mariah says she’s also bringing two suitcases for clothes, swimsuits, underwear, and socks. A “suitcase” is the same as luggage. We talked about a suitcase in the first sentence of the dialogue. “Swimsuits” are clothing that you wear while you go swimming. For a man, it’s usually just a pair of shorts. For a woman it could be either a one-piece or a two-piece swimsuit; the two-piece is usually called a bikini. There’s a part on the top and then there’s a part around the bottom. A one-piece swimsuit is just one piece of material that is not broken or separated in the middle. So you can’t see the woman’s stomach in a one-piece swimsuit, and in a two-piece swimsuit you can – even if you don’t want to!

Underwear is also something Mariah is bringing. “Underwear” is what you wear underneath your shorts or pants or dress that covers the bottom middle. It covers all of those things that you should keep covered in public! “Underwear” actually has a broader meaning; it’s not just what you would put on underneath your shorts or dress. It could also refer to things that you would put on your breasts if you are a woman – bras, that is. It also includes just about any kind of clothing you put on underneath another piece of clothing. So a T-shirt, a plain white shirt that you might put on underneath a more formal shirt, that would also be considered underwear.

Finally, Mariah says that she has a carry-on (carry-on) for her makeup and toiletries. A “carry-on” is a small piece of luggage – a small bag or suitcase – that you can take onto the plane with you. That is, you don’t have to put it underneath the plane. When you put luggage underneath the plane, we say that you have “checked” your luggage. A carry-on is a bag or a suitcase that you take with you to your seat, putting it either above you or in front of you underneath the seat in front of you. “Makeup” is what typically women put on their faces to make them more beautiful. “Toiletries” (toiletries) refers to things that you would use to clean yourself – soap. It might also include toothpaste. It might include creams and lotions, other liquid things, typically, that you put on your face or body for cleansing or to make them look better.

Nick says, “What do you need all that for (why do you need all of those things)?!” Mariah says, “I’m preparing for all contingencies.” A “contingency” (contingency) is a dangerous, difficult situation that might happen in the future, something you need to be prepared for. Here in Southern California we have to be prepared for the contingency of an earthquake, it could happen in the future. Mariah is preparing for all contingencies, all the things that could go wrong. She says, “You never know what situation you’ll be in when you travel, and I want to be equipped with anything I’ll need.” “To be equipped” (equipped) means to have all the necessary things, supplies and tools, for example, that you need for a particular situation. We might even say you are “well equipped.” Sometimes we use that expression in talking about the capabilities, intellectual for example, of someone. It might even refer to training or education they have received. We hope the lawyer is well equipped to defend a man accused of, or said to have committed, a murder.

Nick says, “I should have expected this when I married a clothes horse.” A “clothes horse,” like the animal, (two words) is a person who likes clothing and has too much clothing. It’s definitely usually a negative way of describing someone. Nick says, “I’m surprised you didn’t bring your entire wardrobe.” In this case, “wardrobe” (wardrobe) refers to all of your clothes, all of shoes, all of your accessories. Everything related to clothing that you own, that is your wardrobe. Someone might say, “When I get a new job I’m going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe,” meaning all of my clothes need to be different.

Mariah says, “I was thinking about it (I was thinking about bringing my entire wardrobe she means). I’m sure I can make room.” “To make room” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to arrange, to put things in a certain area so that you have enough space for something else. You could also make room for a person, for example, in a crowded elevator. Mariah says that all of her bags are expandable. “Expandable” means you are able to increase something in size. It comes from the verb “to expand,” which means to make bigger.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Nick: Aren’t you done packing yet? We need to leave for the airport in 15 minutes.

Mariah: I’m almost done. I just need to finish packing my garment bag.

Nick: You’re bringing a garment bag? What for?

Mariah: For my dresses, of course. I don’t want them to get wrinkles in them. I have a bag for shoes, belts, handbags, and other accessories; two suitcases for clothes, swimsuits, underwear, and socks; and a carry-on for my makeup and toiletries.

Nick: What do you need all that for?!

Mariah: I’m preparing for all contingencies. You never know what situation you’ll be in when you travel, and I want to be equipped with anything I’ll need.

Nick: I should have expected this when I married a clothes horse. I’m surprised you didn’t bring your entire wardrobe.

Mariah: I was thinking about it. I’m sure I can make room. All of my bags are expandable.

[end of dialogue]

Someone who is well equipped to write dialogues is our own scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2010 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to pack – to put things into suitcases, boxes, or bags, especially for traveling

* Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush and underwear.

garment bag – a type of suitcase in the shape of a bag that zips around long dresses or suit jackets and has a small hole in the top for the hanger, so that clothes can be hung up without being folded

* I don’t mind putting folded sweaters and pants into a suitcase, but I’d rather hang dresses and suits in a garment bag.

wrinkle – a long, thin line or fold in fabric, especially in clothing that was folded poorly or was placed underneath something heavy for a long period of time

* No matter how much time I spend ironing this shirt, I can’t get rid of all the wrinkles.

belt – a long piece of leather or fabric that is put around one’s waist and tied or buckled in front, used to hold up one’s pants and/or for fashion

* If you wear a brown belt, you’re supposed to wear matching brown shoes.

handbag – purse; a bag held in a woman’s hand or placed over her shoulder, usually used to carry money, identification, makeup, and other things she needs throughout the day

* Do you keep your cell phone in your handbag, or in your pocket?

accessory – something that one wears to look more beautiful, but not a necessary piece of clothing, such as jewelry, a belt, a scarf, a hat, and more

* This is a casual dress, but with the right accessories, it could become a beautiful dress for evening use, too.

suitcase – luggage; a large bag used for carrying one’s clothing, toiletries, and other belongings while traveling

* If your suitcase weighs more than 50 pounds, the airline will charge an extra fee.

swimsuit – clothing worn while swimming; bathing suit

* When she was younger, she liked to wear bikinis, but now she prefers a one-piece swimsuit.

underwear – clothing worn underneath one’s regular clothing, not meant to be seen by other people; briefs, panties, bras, slips, and more

* Some teenage boys like to wear their pants so low that other people can see their underwear.

carry-on – a small bag that one can take onto an airplane, keeping it with oneself and not checking it or having it placed below the plane

* I’m sorry, sir, but that bag is too large to be a carry-on. You’ll need to check it with your other suitcases.

toiletries – liquids, gels, and pastes that are used to clean oneself and/or make oneself more beautiful, such as toothpaste, soap, and lotion

* Why do women pack so many more toiletries than men do?

contingency – a dangerous, difficult, or challenging situation that might happen in the future and that one needs to be prepared for

* I know you want to have an outdoor wedding, but don’t you think you should have a contingency plan just in case it rains that day?

equipped – having all the necessary supplies and tools; having everything one needs for a particular purpose or situation

* They thought they were fully equipped for the camping trip, but they forgot their sleeping bags!

clothes horse – a person who likes clothing and fashion very much and owns much more clothing than most other people do

* Aunt Mildred is such a clothes horse! I think she owns at least 60 dresses.

wardrobe – all the clothes, shoes, and accessories owned by one person

* After her college graduation, Tania spent about $2,000 on new clothes so that she could have a more professional wardrobe.

to make room – to rearrange and move things so that one has enough space for something else

* Do you think we can move the couch over there to make room for a piano in the living room?

expandable – able to be increased in size; able to be made bigger

* My purse is expandable and can be large enough to fit several books!

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these would you expect to find in a garment bag?
a) Clothes.
b) Handbags.
c) Toiletries.

2. What is a clothes horse?
a) A type of suitcase for carrying clothing.
b) A person whose clothes have a lot of wrinkles.
c) A person who likes to have a lot of clothing.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
wrinkle

The word “wrinkle,” in this podcast, means a long, thin line or fold in fabric, especially in clothing that was folded poorly or was placed underneath something heavy for a long period of time: “Your clothes would have fewer wrinkles if you took them out of the dryer and hung them up right away.” A “wrinkle” is also one of the thin lines on one’s skin, especially as one gets older: “People who spend too much time in the sun will get a lot of wrinkles when they’re older.” The phrase “to iron out the wrinkles” means to solve small, unimportant problems to make something perfect or to make something work well: “The engineers need another few weeks to iron out the wrinkles in the software program, but then we should be able to begin selling it.”

belt

In this podcast, the word “belt” means a long piece of leather or fabric that is put around one’s waist and tied or buckled in front, used to hold up one’s pants and/or for fashion: “These pants are too big for me, but if I wear them with a belt, they don’t fall down.” The phrase “below the belt” means unfairly or against the rules: “Hey, that comment was below the belt. I thought we agreed never to mention that again.” The phrase “to tighten (one’s) belt” means to cut expenses, or to spend less than one used to: “The whole family has had to tighten its belt ever since Leandro lost his job.” Finally, the word “belt” can refer to a large area of land where certain characteristics are shared: “Khalid grew up in the agricultural belt, so he knows a lot about farming.”

Culture Note
Many travelers worry about what will happen if the airlines “lose their luggage” (misplace bags, so that suitcases don’t arrive when and where the traveler does). In the past, these people tried to pack less and “squeeze” (fit into a small space) all their things into a carry-on bag. However, this has become more difficult in the “post-9/11” (after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) environment, because there are greater restrictions on the types of things people can bring in a carry-on, and particularly on liquids. In addition, many airlines are “reducing” (decreasing; making smaller) the “baggage weight limits” (the maximum amount one’s suitcase can weigh) and even charging additional “fees” (money paid for a particular purpose) for each bag that is checked.

“Frustrated” (annoyed and upset) with these changes, airline travelers are looking for other “options” (choices) to send their luggage to their “destination” (where one wants to go). In recent years, several companies have begun offering “luggage forwarding services.” Customers can pay these companies to send their luggage to their destination for them. “Theoretically” (in theory, but maybe not in reality), when they get off the airplane, their luggage will be waiting for them. They won’t have to pay any of the airline’s fees, worry about lost baggage, or stay within the airline’s baggage weight limits.

Some of these luggage forward services are “significantly” (much) more expensive than simply using an airline’s baggage-check services. However, some travelers are willing to pay extra for the “convenience” (how easy or difficult it is to do something) and “ease of mind” (not needing to worry about something) of not checking their bags.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - c