About 20 years ago, we bought a set of black luggage — hanging bag, enormous suitcase, smaller suitcase . . . and a little carry bag. Two decades later, only the little bag is still be used. And used, and used, and used.
I suppose you could call it a man-purse, but I call it a satchel. It is the perfect travel accessory, and has been my faithful companion on countless journeys. It’s made of some kind of nylon material that would have been called a miracle fabric back in the ’60s. It’s light and ridiculously durable, capable of being stuffed to bursting with a laptop, books, files, stray documents, an iPad, or all of the above. You can drop it, plop it, and toss it, without any damage or tearing. It has a large main zipper section, a smaller zipper section that adequately carries pens, a collapsible umbrella, plug-in cords, aspirin packets, and other items, a side zipper pocket where you can stash your plane tickets, travel itinerary, and other papers, and a pouch where you can put the morning newspaper you get at most hotels. With a shoulder strap and handles for hand carrying, it’s versatile and easy to carry even when you have your hands full.
It’s been so dependable for 20 years that I don’t even think about it. And, as a result, it’s slowly accumulated random debris that has made a lightweight bag into a middleweight. Today I decided to clean it out, and here is a partial list of what I found: More than 35 pens of various shapes, sizes, and functionality, including the kind that helpfully explode when experiencing the pressure changes that occur on airplanes. Two pen caps that have lost their mate. A made in China “shoe mitt” provided by a defunct hotel chain. An “Off!” Deep Woods towelettes packet that has undergone some kind of internal chemical reaction and swelled to the point it looks like a pillow. Four tickets from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum dates June 30, 2005. A “calling card” from the early days of the Bush Administration issued by a company that was acquired by a competitor in 2007. A business card from a person I have no recollection of ever meeting.
All of this has been removed and pitched. The satchel now feels feather light. It’s ready to serve for another 20 years . . . at least.