Bag or Baby: Confirming My Excitement
I can’t remember if it was our first or second Christmas together when Katie bought me the handmade leather messenger bag. It was the perfect gift: not something I was expecting but something I had long wanted, though I never discussed it with her. Katie is good with gifts that way. It’s either her love for me, women’s intuition or she reads my diary. I don’t care. I love this bag.
It’s five or six years old now and still gets compliments. Leather is meant to age well, and this bag has, but it’s also begun to come apart at the seams. There’s a busted zipper, the handle is held in place with heavy duty staples, the shoulder strap is fraying, the lining is thinning. It’s time to replace this bag, which I’ve so enjoyed and has served me so well for the near entirety of my time with Katie. And in that way, this bag is a symbol of our young relationship turned young marriage turned shrinking then growing family as we lost our dog and prepare to welcome a human shit-and-puke machine.
Back in September, we were strolling along some artist fair on Division Street when we passed the Allegory Handcrafted Goods booth.* There I noticed a gorgeous handmade leather bag. A similar style to my current bag but studier and otherwise different enough that it’ll have its own personality. I engaged the guy who makes them.
“Tell me about the bag, about the process.”
“Blah, blah, blah refurbished… Something, something hand stitched… blah, blah, blah custom.”
The bags aren’t cheap. But I was in the market and had fallen in love. Katie thought it would make a nice Christmas present for me, and in step with our budding family traditions.
“But it’s a little pricey for a Christmas gift,” I said. “We should really keep things under $500 this year. This bag will max out the Christmas budget.”
“It’ll be your only gift if I buy it for you. That’s no fun. Why don’t you treat yourself?”
So I did. In October, after thinking almost exclusively about the bag and what lining I’d like and how I’d have the pockets laid out and if $500 was really worth spending on an item that would be by my side well into the foreseeable future and likely carry the manuscript of the next Great American Novel to be rejected by a small press, I pulled the trigger and bought my bag on Allegory’s website. I was told that the making and shipping process would take 8 to 12 weeks—just in time to arrive at my door for Christmas.
As of this writing, we are in week 11. The due date is upon us and I can’t help see the similarity between my new leather bag and my new squishy child.
Both are currently in production. They’ll be here soon and I need to begin preparing myself for the change in routine. Just as my home office will move into Katie’s, my pencils and pens will sit in a different spot as they’re slung over my shoulder. Change is challenging. I have a really good idea of what my bag is going to look like. I chose the leather, size, pockets, lining. But I’m still not exactly sure what it will look like or how it will hold up and function. I have a really good idea what my kid is going to look like. It’s 50 percent me and 50 percent Katie. But I’m still not exactly sure what it will look like or how it will hold up and function.
I’m excited and curious and looking forward to spending time with it, taking care of it, sharing adventures with it. And of course I’m talking about the bag. You saw that joke coming a mile away, didn’t you? You should have.
The bag will be here soon and I’m more excited for its arrival than I am the kid’s. It could be because of the sequence of things—because the bag is coming first, it could be because my bag, I’m certain, will be far more useful in helping me through my daily tasks than the kid will be. It could also be that the bag cost me $500 where the kid will cost me my youth and my home office, which is the very place I would have kept my bag. That, and though the bag may spill its contents, it’ll never shit on my hands or piss in my mouth while changing its diaper.
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