Oops, I did it again

15 10 2009

Yes, it’s been out of hand for awhile.

Years, actually.

The endless searching, the belief I found The One, the infatuation, the comfort, the dissatisfaction. . . and the search begins anew.

No, I’m not talking about men (or women); it’s all about the bags.

I admit it: I am a bag whore.

Not handbags, not purses—oh no. Backpacks and book bags, with the occasional duffel thrown in.

It started in college. I didn’t really need a bag (or sac, as I would say when I lived in Montreal) in high school; I kept pens and whatnot in my locker, and simply carried my books under my arm. If (ha! when) I went out, I simply tucked my driver’s license and cash in my pocket, along with a house and/or car key.

But in college, well, no lockers. So I needed a bag—truly. I may have started with a backpack, but I think the first was a book bag, navy, canvas, with a large inner pocket, two smaller pockets,  a zippered flap covering those pockets, and a slot in the back for a magazine or newspaper. The strap was cotton, no cushion. I can even picture the store where I bought it, in the little mall by the Southeast dorms on the Madison campus.

Did I mention I still have this bag, complete with red anti-apartheid ribbon still wrapped around the strap?

There were more, of course. I’d go back and forth on the flap vs. no-flap, and between bags and backpacks. More pockets, fewer pockets; expandable, trim; large, medium, small; rugged, lightweight; easy access, security. A bag for every preference. Almost all of which I still own.

That I was (still am?) a hiker only added to the bag fetish: What was suitable for the trail was not so much for the library, and vice versa. And then it was about day hikes vs overnighters, frame vs frameless, more pockets, fewer pockets. And then the panniers for my bike. . . .


Yes, I know there is No Perfect Bag, only the best bag for the occasion.

But still. I yearn for the bag which combines security for my wallet and keys with easy access for everything else, which is durable and lightweight, which has just enough but not too many pockets, which allows me to be organized and flexible and never ever ever hassled by the bag itself.

That I keep my bags (and no, I don’t know how many I own) helps me deal with my restlessness. When I tired of my 15 (or so)-year old Land’s End bag, I could switch to my five-year-old REI bag. But then I thought, well, I’m kinda in a backpack mood. But the packs I had. . . sadly, no, nothing was quite right.

I’ve had pretty good luck with the SwissArmy bag line (yeah, I know: brand-loyalty-is-for-suckers, but that’s simply a caution against mindless repurchasing, not experience), but couldn’t find one to fit my current needs: smaller, decent wallet security, good main space, with enough-but-not-too-much secondary space. I checked Staples (two of them!) and then an obscenely expensive bag store on Broadway and Ninth (?). Hell, I even popped over to KMart to peruse the packages.


I gave up, bought my Cortland apples at the Greenmarket, then headed to Target for cat food (and Oreos, if you must know).

And then I found it. A ‘woman’s’ bag, i.e., a bag meant for a smaller torso, in disgusting pink and reasonable blue. Not too big, not too small, juuuuuust right. And inexpensive, to boot.

So another infatuation begins.

If only I would spend as much time looking for dates. . . but then again, I don’t suppose I could just pile old boy- or girlfriends in my closet until I was ready for them again.