I’m a sucker for a new bag. It doesn’t have to have a purpose in my life, as such, it only needs to be, somehow in my limited experience, different.

It all started years ago – I’m talking forty odd years ago – when I began carrying a camera, film, extra lenses and other related junk everywhere I went, just in case I came upon a picture that needed to be captured. I came upon a lot of pictures. I ended up pretending to be a professional photographer for a number of years and had a lot of fun doing that. I collected so much camera gear that it would fill the trunk of my car. I might not have a suitcase filled with gear always with me but that bag was always there.

Well, one day I realized I was not in the photographic “business” anymore but meanwhile, I had begun adding other items to that bag effectively displacing camera gear with personal stuff and that bag continued to be indispensable as always. Think purse. In it you will find a vestigial camera in the form of a tiny digital thing smaller than a bar of Dial soap. There’s an iPhone, flashlight, passport (just in case), scissors, Kleenex, extra glasses, batteries for hearing aids, spare medication, a mini bottle of Tabasco (just in case), hand sanitizer and an emory board. See what I mean? I couldn’t leave home without it.

Carrying a shoulder bag has provoked some concern among several gatekeepers I have encountered over the years. One incident will do. It was at a Walmart in Bangor. I mean that’s two loosing entities all balled up into one sad experience. There was some plastic hangers there I wanted and I happened to be next door. As I walked into the store this greeter person stopped me and wanted to keep my bag while I was in the store. I looked at him with my best “You dumb fuck” stare and told him he could not have my bag. He then said he would have to “tag” the bag so security would know he had checked it out. I asked him what “checked it out” meant. He wanted to look into the bag. Meanwhile several women walked by carrying bags that I could hide in. I asked why he was not stopping those women. That seemed to give him some pause. I went and got my hangers and left. The same thing happened at a Regal theater and a couple of other places. That was all I needed to turn me against profiling. When I worked at Beans security looked into every bag. That wasn’t selective profiling. They did not discriminate. They considered every employee a thief.

I keep telling CA that an iPad would fit in my bag with room to spare. She pretends not to hear me. But I do on occasion carry my laptop around and that, of course, requires a special bag. I have had a laptop since somewhere around the turn of the century and have managed in that time to put together a brace of six shoulder computer bags – seven if you count a backpack with a computer slot in it.

I have tried to combine functions with these bags with little success. I don’t want to carry a laptop around with me like I carry my “purse”, even when I have incorporated the purse function into the computer bag. So it’s really apples and oranges. I have one computer bag that accommodates the laptop, other writing materials, A book perhaps and regular office stuff. That’s nice specially if I have several projects I am working on, or am on an extended trip.

I even have a spare duplicate “purse” bag that is a nice light blue with leather trim. I have never used it. I figured that by now I would have worn the original one to threads. But that has not happened. It’s one of the higher quality items LLBean ever sold.

I decided to pull out the new “duplicate” bag and perhaps use it for a while, you know, just to break it in. I can’t find it. I have looked high and low – whatever that means. CA says maybe I gave it away. Me? Give a bag away? Are you nuts? I’d never give a bag away. No telling when I will need it.

I am waiting for that moment in the middle of the night when some remote memory switch in my tiny brain snaps shut and the picture of where I put that bag will pops into my mind like a technicolor sexual dream. I’ll get up and get it and spend the rest of the night loading it up and checking out how it looks with various outfits. Just kidding of course. About the outfits. I don’t have outfits.

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