25 June 2013

Carrying baggage. A modern conundrum.

We carry a lot of baggage with us these days.  And I'm not talking the ex-boyfriends, the family relationships, the work weirdo, the rude sandwich maker, the unmade apology, the parenting mistakes and missed opportunities dating back to infancy.  I'm talking 'stuff'.

It's practically impossible to get up and head off into the day without weighing yourself down with 'necessities'.  A first world problem I concur but one that affects most of us. 

Even people with pockets will have wallet, phone, car keys, headphones, spare change, handkerchief and random bottle top from the beer they had last night. And only tall skinny people with no hips can get away with pockets.  The rest of us need bags.

My every day bag
photo by me
Handbags. Man bags. Bum bags. School bags. Satchels. Backpacks. Suitcases. Briefcases. Swags. Totes. Sports bags. Duffel bags. Kit.  Lots of different names for bags to hold 'stuff'.

Somebody even recently paid $85,000 for a bag.  A Birkin one  And it's ugly. 

Basically, most days we head out of the house like some urban version of Bear Grylls, equipped for every eventuality. Notebooks, purses, wallets, phone for life, phone for work, band-aids, water bottle, pens, earphones, mandarin, lunch, diary, hand cream, computer, chargers, camera, umbrella, sun cream, head ache tablets, vitamins, bills to pay, letters to post, magazines, books, kindles, Ipads, tissues, random nappy from yesterday's day trip with small person, mouth mints, spare jumper, running shoes, flip flops, sunglasses, old receipts, newspapers, business cards, muesli bars, loose change.

And that's just the guy that sits next to me at work. Jokes. He doesn't have a purse. And the nappy was in my handbag.  I shifted it for emphasis.  

Folklore tells us is this is just women's handbags.  It's not.  Men have man bags these days. And have you seen the size of the school bags on the backs of preschoolers?  It starts early this compulsive need to carry our lives around in a bag.  Just in case. 

And only really really old people or be-suited business types are allowed to pull around their bags on wheels.  It's way too uncool for the rest of us to do it - even though we are carrying about a quarter of our body weight in 'essentials'.  

I wonder what it is like to live a life with just pockets.  I have hips so I'll never know. But to live without the weight of my world on my left shoulder has recently become a recurring thought. What does it mean?  Is this more profound thinking from the modern Confucius?

Nope, it just means I need to clean out my handbag and stop procrastinating by writing this blog. True story.