Back many years ago when I was working full time, through June 2019, I used my backpack a great deal. It was a blue L. L. Bean item, which I kept until it started slowly deteriorating. At that point, my wife got me a new one, discounted because of credit for buying the original one.
I used it almost every weekday, most Sundays, and occasional Saturdays. In bicycle-riding weather, it contained my bike lock. My bus pass resided there, as did my keys; the latter was because, on two occasions, my keys fell out of my pocket and I didn’t notice. I backtracked hours later and, amazingly, found them! Sometimes, my wallet’s in there for a similar reason.
Even after retiring, this system worked well. But then COVID hit. I just didn’t go anywhere. Well, except that stretch in August to October of 2020 when I was working the Census, and I was getting around via a combination of my bike and the Capital District Transportation Authority. I kept my Census valise in my backpack when traveling.
Out of the habit
The result is that I would misplace my wallet and especially my keys somewhere in the house. Heck, I lost my keys for three full months in 2021. While I had another front door key, I didn’t have one for the shed, where my bicycle is kept. My wife had one but that didn’t help when I wanted to ride during the day.
Then, finally, I found my keys, which meant I could go to the shed. Nuts; only part of my bicycle lock was in there. But I vaguely, but accurately remembered that the other section was, for some reason, by the living room stereo.
Now, where’s the backpack? I didn’t know for a bit. Carrying the bike lock in a bag around my shoulder was inadequate. I finally found the backpack, stuck in the corner of the office, put there in order to try to tidy up the room.
I cannot explain the thrill, the joy of being able to ride my bike to the store, lock it up, pull out a mask (an addition to the backpack accouterment), buy some milk and cottage cheese, then ride home. It’s so damn…NORMAL. Joy I can find in the most mundane of tasks when it feels like the old times of 2019.