I have this problem with backpacks and bags and purses…
My theory of bags is that they are a manifestation of goddess-like power, of feminine abundance and fertility. Like the mother in The Swiss Family Robinson, in any situation or emergency I will be able to provide what is needed from my ‘magic bag’.
My current bags:
Huge backpack for when I want a lot of books
spanish dictionary, binders, notebooks, bottle of water. Laptop can go in here. Flannel shirt can be squashed in. Front pockets have phone, pens, medicine, kleenexes, wallet, boxes of raisins and stuff. When fully loaded this thing must weigh about 50 pounds.
Small green shoulder bag
Notebook, paperback book, phone, pens, inhaler, benadryl, tums. It takes about a week for this spartan collection of stuff to overflow with crap. A binder does not fit, alas.
Purple backpack with broken zipper
This is the main diaper bag. Diapers, wipes, snacks, juice, entire extra outfit, toys, books. In a pinch, the entire giant fuzzy red blanket can be squashed into here. Cell phone and GPS and wallet and keys can be thrown into front pocket with broken zipper, because I’m a fucking idiot. In one week it becomes a disgusting mess. At times a wet diaper folded up into a neat ball has been excavated from under this stuff. The extra outfit hasn’t been needed for about 6 months and it gets really linty and gross.
Special bag with shoulder strap, containing ibook, attachable mouse and microphone, power cord with extension. Sometimes gets notebook, inhaler, paperback book. No horrible lint as yet.
misc. tote bags
About 5 or 6 tote bags that get used for quick trip to the park. Diapers, toys, juice, crackers, book and notebook and inhaler and phone. Can alternately be used for extra binder-carrying bag for poetry readings in conjunction with small green bag. After 2 months each bag is filled with the detritus of park and bookstore visits under the table or in the hallway or behind the door.
Each bag collects loose change, crumbs, squashed M & Ms, raisins, cheerios, used kleenex, lint, bits of paper folded up from my pocket. After about 4 months it starts to become compost and I clean out the bag.
But the essential problem is that there is a core population of crap that I nearly always have to switch from bag to bag: inhaler, phone, notebook and pens, mainly. I should have inhalers for all the bags?
Should one have just one pen, and one inhaler, and know where it is at all times? Or have 10 pens and 10 inhalers and scatter them about, hoping they will be conveniently at hand when they’re needed?
When I was a kid I fantasized that someday i would have a sort of portable hole, or bag of holding, invisibly floating around like a shelf behind my head. When I wanted a book or something I would just reach up there and get it. I could look something up in the encyclopedia anytime. All kinds of food would be stored there and sweaters and whatever else you might want to carry around. Clearly I need this. In some ways the web has answered my “invisible portable bookshelf” needs.