Tuesday, 9 September 2014

About a bag

If I were a student I would be ready for the start of the new Academic Year. Last month, on our New York trip, I found myself the nicest of all schoolbags that I’ve seen over the past few years. (That is since the schoolbag became a trend, the Alexa Chung Mulberry bag, you know.) 
The bag sketch-wise.
Okay I had to break one of my New Year’s resolutions – “no bag buying” – but it was for the greater good. The thing is (was) that I brought one of the Longchamp backpacks to join me on our adventure through the NY city jungle. A backpack seems like the perfect city-trip-bag and just might be, if you get to cycle all day. If you walk through the busiest of all cities you need hands-free as well, I know. Drinking coffees on the go, taking pictures and browsing through city guides simply requires bag-free hands. One problem a backpack poses: pickpockets might get in waaaaaay to easily when the bag is worn the way it’s meant to be (i.e. on your back using both shoulder straps). Me being (1) a safety-first and (2) a “wanna-look-stylish-as-a-tourist-too” kind of girl didn’t, of course, backpack through NYC. Wearing the bag (overloaded with m&m’s, books, sun cream, pen & notebook, wallet, sunglasses, city guide) on my wrist and slung over one shoulder made me hurt my back. Result: me nagging and complaining about it to Le Boyfriend. My elegies must have got in his hair. Why else would he have offered spontaneously to hold the bag for me, right? 

Anyway, after a day or two I kind of divided the city essentials over 2 bags. I found a pliage-backpack one of my sisters had lent me for the holiday in my suitcase. For the rest of the trip (10 out of 13 days that must have been) my partner in travel-crime backpacked the way it’s meant to be, with the fold-up bag.

So, brief recap: I picked the wrong holiday bag. Having to use that one and the same bag for 2 weeks is like hell, especially for a bagonista like me. It felt like one arm was missing and I just couldn’t get it, didn’t understand how I could have made this terrible, terrible mistake. I mean, the last month before take-off I’d spent hours of thinking about all of my bags, about their “practicality” on holiday. I’ve missed sleep over it, spent nights awake, breaking my head over the holiday-bag-issue. (That’s nothing new actually.) When I thought I’d made the decision (D-bag would carry the essentials for me and a linen tote would offer assistance, bring the right balance and avoid overweight.) me, undecided as I am, asked for advice. Backpack it said, so I reconsidered. And that’s how it happened, how I ended up in NYC carrying the “wrong” bag and also how I committed self-betrayal by buying a new bag. No overpriced one (oof), nor a designer or it-bag. I got myself a brandless bag, a natural beauty that stands on its own, that doesn’t need a logo or famous name to make it into something special.

And there’s more, because, you know, in life it’s not all about the looks and beauty. From time to time it’s also about ... nostalgia. You could even say that family matters made this NYC bag irresistible. Its “body”, shape and curve remind me of a former schoolbag that my eldest sister used to have. Apart from the “form” the leather as such (darkchocolate-brown nubuck) is food for reminiscing too. It flew me back to Christmas parties where we (for as far as I can remember some of my aunts, sisters, nieces and mother) discussed leather goods that some of us gave and got as presents, where we all seemed to agree on how splendid, nice and beautiful those wallets and pen cases were. Back then nubuck bags were way out of my wallet-league and I could only dream about carrying one. By the time I finally could afford them (when I got myself a weekend job that is) the nubuck-wish was history, probably because of the Vuitton fever that had hit me too hard by then.

Let’s get back to the here and now (August 2014, NYC), to the crime scene. On a Saturday morning there was a market in “our street” and in front of the hotel was this sample sale stand. Yup, it must have been faith: nothing but nice natural-leather-bags. From backpacks and crossovers to schoolbags and keep-all travel bags, they were all yelling my name. Especially that particular schoolbag-like yet true shoulder and crossover bag. It looked like the perfect bag to carry around in a city: notebooks and travel guides fit in perfectly as well as sunglasses, a wallet and sun cream. At first I tried to ignore this paradise stand and went for breakfast in Bryant Park like every morning as if nothing had happened. But (I guess you saw it coming, the but) as Le Boyfriend decided to visit a barbershop to get his hair cut I decided to go buy that chocolate-brown beauty. It was more expensive than I hoped for, yet having felt and opened the bag and having had a very close look at it I realized (once again) that bag-love is priceless. If it had been a less exclusive bag (LV or Delvaux) I wouldn’t have given in, that’s for sure. It’s the once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity-aspect that won me over and drove me to this self-betrayal, nothing more nothing less.

P.S. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to get rid of my guilty bag conscience.

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