My commute is giving me old lady posture.  This is a problem.

Every day, I trek about 4 blocks to the el stop, get on the el (where I invariably have to stand for the entire 40 minute ride), and then walk another two blocks to my office.

Accompanying me on this daily journey is my trusty messenger bag.  Some lawyers might carry fancy leather briefcases, but those are lawyers who have enough discretionary income to spend some of it on something as unfun as a leather briefcase.  I have to save my limited discretionary income for gin, so I carry the same bag that I have carried since 1997:

Those Timbuk2 people dont lie when they say their bags last forever.

The problem.

(Those Timbuk2 people do not lie when they say their products last forever.  This thing has lasted for 10+ years of heavy daily use, first carrying huge college textbooks, then heavy teacher’s manuals and student work,  then a laptop and huge law casebooks.  And no, I cannot for the life of me figure out why my 18-year-old self decided to purchase a bag in Packers colors.  The Bears fan in me keeps hoping the thing will wear out so I have an excuse to buy a better color scheme.  It’s not cooperating.)

Now it does not hold textbooks, or teacher’s manuals, or casebooks.  Most days it does not even hold a laptop.  But it is still bothering the heck out of my neck.

A peek inside

A peek inside

So I thought it was time to take a cold, hard look at the ridiculous amount of crap I’m schlepping on a daily basis, to see where I can lighten the load.

The wallet stays.

The wallet stays.

Wallet.  Can’t get rid of this for obvious reasons.  Plus, contains very little actual money, so is surprisingly light.

Lunchbox

Lunchbox

Shut up.  Seriously, stop laughing.  Bento lunchbox is awesome.  It is flat, and fits easily into the bag, and holds lots of food, and saves lots of money that would otherwise be spent on subpar sandwiches at Corner Bakery.  I love lunchbox.  It stays.

File Folder, Notebook, Book

File Folder, Notebook, Book

These things are, admittedly, kind of heavy, but I can’t give them up.  The file folder contains work to do at home, which enables me to leave the office at a reasonable hour.  The notebook I try to always have with me to jot down notes, phone numbers, etc.  After years and years of losing the envelopes and scraps of paper I used to write that stuff down on, I’m committed to my notebook system. The book is a fabulous tome containing the history of and recipes for old-timey cocktails, and while I suppose technically I could attempt my commute without a book, I find that it’s important to have something to look at other than your fellow passengers, so as to avoid accidental eye contact which seems always to lead to (ugh) early morning conversation with a stranger.

Rain accoutrements

Rain accouterments

We had a storm.  You may have heard about it.  My hair is very sensitive to rain.

That’s it for the main compartment.  Time to turn to the pockets:

Pocket dwellers

Pocket dwellers

Well…gosh.  I appear to be deeply concerned about lip care.  Let’s take a closer look:

So!  John!  All those times I asked you in accusatory tones why you had stolen my carmex/burt’s bees and hidden it from me?  Um, my bad.  Also, glad to see that I’m keeping the two nicest cosmetic items I own (those two Chanel lip glosses) in the ratty dingy depths of my work bag, considering I don’t wear lipstick to work, like, ever.  This also might explain why I ended up swiping Vaseline on my lips in a fit of desperation before the wedding we went to this weekend when I couldn’t find any lipstick anywhere in the house.

So, what have we learned here today?  Clearly I can remove, oh, a half dozen lip balms/glosses/sticks from my bag.  But I have a hunch that the combined weight of a burt’s bees, a carmex, two lip glosses and a kiehl’s tube is hardly going to make a difference for my poor neck.

I guess the only other option is to invest in one of these:

That, plus a pained expression and a hunch to my shoulders, ought to be enough to buy me a seat on the train so I can set the damned bag down, dontcha think?

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