Either I’m a slob, or the self-appointed keeper of time capsules. One day I had the notion of reorganizing the living room. What I found were hidden bags of memories. As I moved my chair, a variety of bags collapsed to the rug, tumbling about their colorful contents. I searched through the house for more storage space and all I found were MORE bags: knitting bags, diaper bags, school bags.. ….endless bags. Apparently it’s easier to get a new bag, than clean out an old bag.
Long ago, well into my first job, I splurged on a “designer” handbag. It was love at first shoulder toss. A bag with a pocket for my “T” pass and a rich Corinthian leather exterior helped me pretend Customer Service was a job worthy of my greatness. You look mah-vel-ous! Eventually I left each bag like an old lover, and traded it in for something new.
Later on, with one toddler in tow and another on the way, I found the exciting world of diaper bags. Really. Diaper bags had pockets and zippers and changing pads. They were a mother’s dream come true! Every morning I dragged a bulging diaper bag and my catchall bag to the car. I was a superstar of organization.
One small promotion (and many more bags) I was unceremoniously walked to the door by Security. Head down, bag high, I left the city to a life of providing day care for my kids and other children. It takes a special kind of person to watch other people’s children. I am not that person. But bags and containers were abundant as I organized Legos, Barbies, building blocks, and trains! I tired of this new career of long, thankless hours, being underpaid and battling conflicting values. I decided to venture out again into the work world. But first, I needed a new bag.
Working nights in a Call Center required me to fill my new bag with my snacks, dinner and knitting. Working nights and weekends dragged on for years….and years. I needed a change and maybe a new bag or two.
With full-time kindergarten starting, I found another job that gave me my nights and weekends back and FREE coffee! I needed a bag that would hold a multitude of personal things a former Girl Scout (for 5 minutes) may need: flashlights, books, snacks, cellphone, recipes and knitting. I got a work bag!
As the kids grew, their interests in sports required tight scheduling. I was in need of a bag that functioned as a diaper bag, but carried athletic uniforms, snacks and whatever else four kids may need during a day of relentless soccer fields, basketball courts, and riding rings (flies are extra). My plan changed and I bought a multitude of bags. Saddle bags for everyone!
The kids kept growing; and needing things. So, off I went to another job with promises of big checks that allowed for many eyeglasses, contacts and, ahem, feminine products. Of course, I needed a new bag for me. Image is everything.
My parents retired to the Cape, building a home near a pond and the ocean. This required beach bags. You saw that coming, right? I packed enough things to spend a week at the beach. We never lasted more than an hour. The first granule of sand in an eye or in a snack ended the fun. Fun?
I am back working nights and weekends, basking in the glory of academia. With this new job came…..a new bag! Okay, several new bags. We do have four seasons in New England ‘ya know. I pack like I am never coming home when I go to work. I bring things just.in.case: knitting, books, snacks, dinner, headphones, umbrellas, tissues, keys and yes, flashlights. I may even have an ice scraper in there…somewhere…
My bags, like time capsules, will be around for a while. I cannot bear to empty them. They are filled with crumpled receipts, sporting venues, admission stubs, long forgotten schedules, yellowed bandaids and other memorabilia of my childrens’ youths. These bags fill empty spaces in my house, and in my heart.
As gravity continues to win the good fight, I decided to get back to working out. My school has a gym that I can use during certain hours for FREE. I have secret competitions with the students, in my head. They’re winning. My knitting bag is too small to function as a workout bag, so you know what I need? GYM BAG!