Toting the traps of middle age

Ready for twenty minutes on the porch! Photo: Mitch Teich

I’m writing this weekend’s column on my porch. To do this, I needed to assemble all the tools of the writing trade: Reading glasses, to be able to see what I write without magnifying the screen to 200%; reading sunglasses, so I can rock back and forth whenever the sun shines through the beech in the front yard; a tall iced coffee, which I try to keep out of the reach of a six month old schnoodle who apparently thinks she doesn’t have enough energy already; and my phone, because I have to have my write tunes. Oh, and maybe my laptop. And wireless mouse.

To put all these things on the porch, it took three trips to the house. It was not labeled a problem of the same magnitude as, say, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the global pandemic, but let’s not forget that I had not yet had my iced coffee.

How to carry stuff has become one of my defining issues in my 50s. We go to my son’s baseball games and have to bring the chairs and snacks and the camera and dog treats and water and sunscreen and bug spray on the sidelines. Every eight weeks, I get an IV drip all morning, and I bring a book and magazine, my headphones, and a cereal bar. I drag things from the kitchen to the barbecue. You got the idea.

Until a few years ago, the slam-dunk solution was a backpack. When we were packing to move to the North Country, we unearthed seven or eight backpacks in our Wisconsin basement, many with rotting granola bars and problems with The New Yorker (really, don’t throw it away – I’ll get to this 28 page article on alpaca wool smugglers one of these days).

But at one point I decided that the backpacks require too much deliberation, too many calculations as to the proper pocket for my camera, and are sequestered from the Hershey bar which will melt when I forget I have it. have packed; too much pressure to choose the appropriate lightweight jacket to put on and stuff inside in case the temperature drops 30 degrees while we were at the hour-long outdoor concert.

And I am not the only one facing this problem. My daughter is in her final year of high school and is the designated driver for most of our runs around town. Her problem: She doesn’t carry a purse, and most pants or shorts designed for women these days have pockets that can hold two sticks of Dentyne or 26 cents of change. So she can’t go out without someone else accompanying her like Sherpa with her car keys.

If you need more proof that this is a problem: a former colleague of mine in Wisconsin went so far as to invent a garment that combine a handbag with a shirt. And that’s great, but it’s not really designed for the middle-aged man carrying a Hershey camera and bar.

So I discovered an incredible solution (No! It’s not about “carrying less”) the baseball field. They are called ‘tote bags’ and not only do they contain everything from library books to Doritos bags in sight almost entirely, but they mark you as a certified member of an exclusive club called’ middle age. “. And best of all, I’ve been told that some of them have public radio logos printed on them.

My daughter, however, will continue to ask me to carry the keys to the car.


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About Marion Alexander

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