#23 - Carrying Shit

Oh. My. God. I hate to carry shit. It makes me miserable. If I have even one extra thing in my pockets--say, a chunky hotel key, or my camera--my general happiness decreases by about 9%. Because of this I am always on the lookout for new ways to scale down my operation and carry fewer/smaller things.

If I find a thinner wallet, I buy it. I remove the valve covers from the tires on my bike. I sometimes even tear the tags out of my clothing. I found out I could just enter my phone number at the grocery store instead of keeping that scanner thing on my keychain, so I took it off.

I'm mortified and sickened when I see someone with one of those massive, 11-pound keychains with all kinds of fobs and knobs hanging off it. Unless you're a janitor, you don't need all that stuff. I once managed to reduce my entire key universe to just one key, which I kept in my wallet. It was heaven. Unfortunately, at the time, I lived in Latvia where some asshole had decided that all the money worth less than $10 should be coins! And $10 in Latvia at that time would have bought you an apartment, so my key innovations were negated.

I am such a passionate not-carrier of shit that when people say to me, "Hey, hold this for a second?" I have to think about it. Or if my wife decides her very tiny evening purse is the way to go and she wants me to carry her keys and her chapstick and her phone, I'll do it, but I'll sulk. Basically, anything in addition to my wallet, my phone, and my stripped-down keychain is an annoyance and burden to me.

And speaking of wallets, I have actually kidnapped friends' wallets for editing. You find some guys carrying around things like store-specific credit cards, their High School IDs, their memberships to the video store in their home town where they don't live anymore. Don't these dudes realize that all that shit's weighing them down? Not to mention causing them to sit on an incline? It's messing up their posture and their lives!

I'm also mystified when people go to great lengths to avoid checking their bags on planes. I mean, here's an opportunity to have someone else carry your stuff, and you're not going to take it? I don't mind non-checkers if they're on a day trip. Or if they've packed a sensible weekend bag. That's all well and good. But when you're flaunting the rules and trying to cram a steamer trunk into the overhead compartment just so you... what... get to carry your own shit a bit longer? I'm sorry, you're F-ed, pal.

Me? As soon as anyone in any kind of aviator-looking cap offers to take my bag off my hands, he's welcome to it. Does checked baggage occasionally go missing? Yes. But all that happens then is that they deliver the bag to you a few hours later. In which case, you didn't even have to carry it from airport! Score!

And while I'm on the subject of luggage, let me mention a change in policy around here. I used to think it was poor form for dudes to have wheelie luggage. I felt like a proper man should lug around a huge heavy bag like his forefathers did before him. Then I got me some wheelie luggage and all that changed. However, I do still believe that when a wheelie luggage-having man encounters a flooring surface on which his luggage will make an annoying clackity-clackity-clackity sound, he should pick up the bag and carry it over that portion of the floor.

For me, the ultimate luggage situation would go like this: I wear a light suit onto the plane and carry nothing but a book. Then, on the other end, I buy all the stuff I need for the trip. Of course, that policy would be a bit beyond my means, so until then I'm just going to rock the Large GB Sea Bag from Connolly Leather that my pops sorted out for me. The nice thing about there being a luxury leather company that has your last name is that you can rock monogrammed stuff without being ostentatious. In other words: It's got my freaking name on it, dude!

[Note, all these pictures are from the ingenious book Bikes of Burden, by Hans Kemp. He shot all the pics in the city of Saigon, where I bought my copy but it's also available here.]


gretchen said...

I am SO with you on the go-lighter tip- if you didn't already have a proper roller cart, I would suggest the super-lightweight one I just got (Leather is heavier than most other materials, so if you're looking to shed ounces, give me a call ;)