Monday, November 14, 2011

Through Being Cool

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is about overcoming fears. I'm not sure if today's topic quite fits, but it's about overcoming something.

When I started going back to school in January, I realized after a couple of weeks that everyone brings their laptops to school now. One of the results of that is that some professors now lecture much more quickly, too quickly to be faithfully transcribed by hand.

So I started bringing my laptop to class, and I upgraded from a purse to my "ladies' briefcase," a huge black purse with a matching laptop sleeve and lots of compartments and sections, ostensibly for files and folders and the like. Really, the compartment dividers weren't strong enough to stay in place, and it just created a huge mess that seemed to at that moment hide the specific items for which I was searching.

Then this happened. Allow me to refresh your memory, in case you do not recall the time I tried to fix a purse with electrical tape.

So then I tried using a different big purse that was open at the top, giving ample room for things to stick out. That was obviously a bad idea, especially for laptop storage, in a place where it rains a lot. I moved on to a larger bag with a zipper, which I found in storage during one of my trips to New Jersey. One of the seams broke from overuse, and I still haven't fixed it. So I switched to another bag found in storage in New Jersey, but the Velcro is shot and it keeps flapping open during my mile-and-a-half walk from work to school.

Plus, I was starting to realize that walking a mile and a half with a heavy shoulderbag is kind of uncomfortable! Yeah, it took me a long time to realize this.

So, after a series of stylish shoulderbags, I gave up. I gave up on style. I am using a backpack.

But, see, not a stylish backpack. Not even a school backpack. It's a hiking backpack. A Camelbak.

It's a great backpack! It's a special women's fit design, with extra straps so that you don't hurt your back carrying extra heavy things! But I'm not going hiking in it. I'm going to work and school.

I gave up and started carrying it not just on school days, but to work every day. Taking mass transit with a lunch bag and textbooks and emergency rainwear, it's just easier.

Then I realized that when I walk to the grocery store or farmers' market, which can be a mile or mile and a half each way, that shoulder bags and reusable grocery bags aren't really ideal, either.

I started carrying that backpack on my normal errand-running walks to Whole Foods or the library.

And then yesterday, the backpack stuffed to the brim, laden with a 5-lb. whole chicken, a metal tea tin, and other heavy items, I realized I was walking stooped forward, heading dangerously close to a right angle.

It was either my back or my status as a cool lady. And I'd already damaged the latter when I started carrying that backpack around town in the first place.

I clipped the extra support straps around my waist.

I wasn't at Stokes State Forest. I wasn't climbing Mount Hood. I was in my neighborhood.

It's over. All over. I have given up on being cool. At least I won't get a bad back.


Jamie said...

Ha...I too started carrying a backpack again for the first time in years, and I also felt like I was giving up any care about looking stylish and/or professional. There's a lot to be said for the backpack for city-dwellers, especially if one also becomes a city biker. My advice, if you want to fully renounce coolness, is to put a giant Nalgene bottle in one of those exterior side pockets. Then you can carry your stuff and avoid dehydration at the same time.

I recently bought a new tote bag with a graphic design of giant paperclips that I am in love with, so my backpack wearing is temporarily on hiatus.

Sarah said...

I have a Sigg bottle in one of those pockets as we speak! AAHHHH!!!!!!!! And giant paperclips sounds like a great design.