I could not understand, the other day, how I walked the length of the road to the gym in such a short time. I allowed well over half an hour, yet did it in twenty minutes.
Ten years or more ago, I regularly visited someone half way up that road and it seemed to take a hundred years. Well, a long time. Let’s say it was never a walk I set out on without feeling tired before I began, but one that I would have felt unjustified in driving. And I am older now, not younger.
A few days later I realised why.
I had no bags. No heavy bags.
It was during that hot spell. I walked to the leisure centre in my leggings and t- shirt, and took a small, light jacket as I would be walking home between 9:30 and 10 at night, so might be a bit chilly.
I had minimal makeup in the bag – maybe one lipstick. No purse, except my small bus ticket one with a few coins, including one just in case for the locker. I had my phone. I was embarking on a free seven day trial of the place, so needed no credit cards .
I am usually – well, always except for this one time – weighed down by my bags.
For handbag read large capacious shoulder bag. Glasses, large purse containing all the tea shop cards in the world. Full cosmetic bag. Book, water bottle, maybe coke bottle, maybe a small fruit bar. Pad, pens. Maybe a page torn out of my crossword book.
Depending on this or that, sunglasses, umbrella, spare cardy or thin rolled up mac. Even spare shoes if I want to walk easy, then put on posh when I get to wherever.
Maybe some photos to show someone. A book to lend them, or a birthday present. Or something they have given or lent to me.
Of course, by now, we have spilled over into bag two.
And that does not take into consideration shopping of course. And sometimes when I visited the person half way through my nearby long road, I had come from shopping and swimming. Arriving to them by bus (and a long walk from the stop) and then doing the dreaded walk back afterwards.
Bag three was a rucksack.
My lightness recently made me wish I could always be so unencumbered. And I wonder how heavily we walk though life when perhaps all we need do is to get rid of some baggage.
But the mystery of the bag has perplexed me for decades. I know women with tiny bags. What is in them? Keys? A purse? Nothing else? I even knew a young girl who was given a bag as a present and said, ‘What shall I put in it?’ !
A deeper mystery is the friend who has the small bag, but always has a tissue – and even one for you. (because even though you have the kitchen sink in yours, you don’t always have everything you really need. I have a fairly small – bag friend who even produced a plaster for me when I got an unexpected blister!)
Let’s go a little deeper into the mystery. The girl with the small bag which looked like it could not hold much more than a purse and some keys, but could produce tissues by magic… she left it open one day…
…and in it was a banana!
Poor Brenda from ‘Neverland’ knows all about bags. Oh how she needs a satchel for the new school term, looming ahead. She has managed to scrounge most of the uniform. But not a satchel.
At the last minute her mother, who is very fond of jumble sales, find a briefcase in one. And Brenda is grateful for even that.
Her friend Mary proudly shows off to Brenda that she has had a very beautiful – more beautiful than most – satchel given to her by a wealthy relative.
Brenda envies it. But if she only knew. Mary’s problems are far worse, more sinister, more weighty…