Saturday, July 30, 2005

Trying to Blend In

One unforeseen consequence (or maybe not so unforeseen, who knows?) of the recent attempted bombings in London is that anyone walking around with a rucksack (that’s backpack) is looked at quite suspiciously.

So, what’s a guy to do? The obvious choice is simply not to carry as much stuff. But this is me we’re talking about. Men also aren’t able to carry purses. (What does this look like? France?) So, that considerably narrows things down to either carrying a plastic Tesco bag around with me or finding a new bag. And I can’t carry the Tesco bag. I just can’t. That’s so uncool.

Ah, but carrying the Tesco bag would have been much simpler. You see, I find myself unable to make a simple decision such as, ‘Oh, there’s a bag…I’ll get that one.’ Oh no…I have to look in many shops and agonize and ponder and browse and agonize and ponder.

Luckily, though, I found myself near the Petticoat Lane Market. Yes, I know what you’re saying…’Get the guy a petticoat and he won’t mind carrying a purse.’ And you’d be right…if you weren’t so wrong.

Despite the name, I saw no petticoats. I did, however, see a few packs of dodgy knickers. Primarily, though, the Petticoat Lane Market sells clothing (from racks set up on the street) and bolts upon bolts upon bolts of garish, tacky cloth. Oh, and luggage, all types of luggage.

And it was there, in one of the numerous, rather anonymous, fairly dubious luggage shops that I found it…the bag that shall henceforth be know as ‘The Bag Most Wondrous and Glorious, Defender of the Haversack and Provider of Portage, It’s Brilliance the Messenger Bag.’ (What? This is England…things all but beg for a title like that.)

Okay, to be fair, I did have a very nice messenger bag (Thanks, Harriet!) but, owing to space allowances (look, I had already filled four pieces of luggage to cart over here), I was forced to leave it in America.

So, what’s so wondrous about it, you ask? (Actually, what I’ll bet you’re really asking is, ‘Egad, what is he on about now?’) Well, I’ll tell you.

First, its size: not too big, not too small. Specifically, its main pocket is large enough for something the size of a file folder but not overly large. It fits quite nicely under my arm without being bulky.

Second, it has a main flap that covers the entire bag. Now, the flap is critical…not only does it have a decent-sized pocket itself, but it fastens with one fastener. One fastener, not two. A fastener, not Velcro. One fastener keeps it shut and keeps people on the Tube from snaking their hands inside while at the same time not being overly tiresome to open. One fastener avoids the ‘rrrrrriiiiippppppppppppp!’ of a Velcro closure (not to mention the fact that the Velcro will eventually get worn out, causing the flap to…well…flap about).

Third, the bag is made out of rather nice nylon, enough to keep light rain out without being hazardous to cows and things like that, easy enough to clean, tough enough to bang about. It also happens to have a bit of padding on the side that is against my body.

Fourth, the bag is a pleasing colour. Not ostentatious or showy, its base colour is an understated black with a satisfying slate accent. (The mere fact that the display model was an odd blue nearly put me off the bag altogether…even though it was blue…the accent was POWDER blue.)

Fifth, there are a number of pockets. Not that I use lots of pockets, but you know how I am…there’s always the possibility I might like to use a pocket eventually. (In addition to the earlier mentioned flap pocket and main pocket, it also has a medium-sized pocket, two small pockets, an ID pocket with clear plastic window, and a mesh pocket for holding a bottle of water.) Also, each pocket (except for the ID pocket and water bottle pocket) has a zipper complete with a handy zipper pull.

Sixth, the bag has a shoulder strap (with a padded bit for my shoulder!) allowing me to sling it over my right shoulder and carry it, across my body, under my left arm (a further snaking-hand-on-the-Tube protection).

Seventh, and perhaps the most telling design feature, the bag has a handle on top. However, this handle is attached to the bag itself not the flap. There is an opening in the flap allowing the handle to come through. So what? This allows the weight to be supported by the structure bag itself rather than simply the flap. Many other, obviously inferior, bags have the handle right on top. The through-the-flap design is a well-thought-planned, well-implemented feature.

Now, before you all email me saying you must have one of these WonderBags, I have to tell you that all of this astounding amazingness comes at a rather steep price.



At that price, I’m wishing I’d have gotten several.

(So, NOW do you see why I spend so long agonizing over something like this?)

(Okay, probably not. But do you see why carrying a Tesco bag would have been simpler?)

But, I have to say, it’s way, waaaaaaaaaaay cooler than carrying a Tesco bag.


Blogger graycie said...

Definitely, Matt, a girlfriend, or a nice hobby, or . . .

(Do they have it in green?)

4:12 PM  

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