My secret shame: I’m afraid of new bags

Eric’s recent Brain Fart, along with office kitchen-table discussion, prompted me to think about my own bag usage. I, too, have an older Timbuk2 messenger bag, mine a 1997 DeeDog (the size below Eric’s XL Tag Junkie). Unlike Eric, this has been my sole everyday bag for most of the 11 years I’ve owned it. Sure, I have a few other bags kicking around, but never have I found one I’ve liked enough to use all the time or even occasionally (not that I have really looked). My bag is like an old friend at this point, and I see no reason to put it out to pasture.


The black, grey, silver color scheme was a direct ripoff of one hanging on the shop wall where I worked when I ordered it, but I was taken with the tough-but-cool look enough not to care that someone else might have the same bag as me (which according to some would take away cool points.) (As it turns out, Justin has one in those colors too. Oh well.) My partner, who’s been with me just months longer than the bag, used to call it “that funny purse of yours.” I didn’t take too much offense. My bag is the one physical area in my life that epitomizes the “A place for everything, and everything in its place” philosophy—if it weren’t for its pockets and pouches, I’d probably be constantly looking for my wallet, sunglasses, etc. In fact the three external holders I have installed on the shoulder strap make it my own personal superhero utility belt, keeping my ray gun and grappling hooks at the ready (or at least my cell phone and house keys).

I’m always amazed at the pile of stuff that is permanently housed in my “empty” bag, and how much stuff can fit in it when really full. It has a magical ability to appear bottomless at just the right moments, such as grocery shopping or bringing extra books and papers home from work.

The black is now quite faded, especially on the trim. The lining is just beginning to delaminate from the fabric, but it’s still waterproof enough, at least most of the time. The wear is of course part of its comfortable, old leather jacket charm, and a testament to how many years and miles it has survived.

We get all kinds of bags here at Dirt Rag, but I have instantly disliked the few I’ve tried, most likely for the simple reason that they weren’t my bag. They seemed uncomfortable or ugly or there were no pockets just right for my stuff. But sadly my bag might be forced into an early retirement due to injury—injury to my back, that is. In the last year since I got a laptop I’ve been lugging it home pretty frequently, upping the total weight of my “empty” bag (since even with a laptop inside, there’s plenty of space in the wondrous bottomless bag for other stuff). This has kept my chiropractor in business, but I’m not sure if that’s a wise long-term strategy. Last week I rode to work and back with my typically heavy bag on a mountain bike and have been paying for it since. In the more upright position the weight sat lower and hung off my shoulder more than usual, and I must have shrugged my shoulder to readjust the bag’s position one time too many, because I spent the weekend covered in Tiger Balm and leaning into a heating pad (which they don’t make hot enough nowadays, I want one of those good old ‘70s fire-hazard ones… but I digress).

I have a brand-new commuting backpack sitting at home that was used once and rejected because it wasn’t just right. But while my heart deems it ugly, my back deems it comfortable, so it might see some action pretty soon. But I’ll never give up my bag, just use it for special occasions, perhaps, or maybe I can solve the organization problem by simply putting my bag inside its replacement… that way it will still be with me.


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