What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

accretion of unwanted material of biological origin on travel backpack

on February 20, 2014

Years ago, I bought Nimue a backpack. She was going the UK to work and study, and I wanted to empower her to have adventures—or so I told myself. Really I think I bought it for myself, so we’d be the kind of people who backpack across Europe. (I still buy her gear, but I’ve gotten wiser about talking about it with her first.)

It was cool tech, though: a North Face Galileo M4100 internal frame model optimized for the task. The straps folded and zipped into pockets so it could go as checked luggage. It incorporated a huge detachable daypack, came with a shower organizer and a raincover, and could swell up like a Wagnerian soprano or be compressed like a Victorian lady in a corset. (It weighed as much as two ordinary backpacks, but hey, you gotta give something for all that function.) Nimue did have adventures with it, and I joined her for a few of them. But I think I always liked it better than she.

At the end of one of her last trips, it landed on top of boxes in the room we call “the library,” but should call “the lair of Tiamat, the primordial chaos dragon.” It’s Fox’s favorite room. Fox is a cat. Those who know cats will immediately connect the dots. He’s normally shut out of that room, but he got in nevertheless, and he made a nest of the travel backpack, turning it orange with Fox fur.

When I discovered that, I brought it downstairs to clean. I went off for just a moment in search of adhesive tape to make a Fox-fur-catcher … a moment too long. Percy, who has a love-pee relationship with our luggage, climbed upon the pack and expressed himself. Disgusted, I hauled it to the garage (our other dragon’s lair), dripping a noxious trail. There it remained, another stalled project—where, like almost everything else in the house during the damp southeastern US summer of 2013, it grew a green coat of mold.

Under all that contamination, however, there’s still a potentially useful tool. Next week I’m traveling to a continuing education event by the low-carbon-footprint mode of riding a bus. I’ll have hours of layovers and will take local public transit on the last leg. The travel backpack seems made for such a trip. So today I’ve scrubbed it to shed the filth that was making it revolting. Other than cat hair, odor, and dust, I haven’t actually gotten rid of anything … except, gladly enough, regret.

Why don't product photos in catalogs look like this?

Why don’t product photos in catalogs look like this?

I’ll pay attention on my journey to how truly useful the travel pack seems. Old hopes and even affections aren’t enough to keep me keepin’ on any more. Chaos dragon, beware!

shedding style: release

Comments welcome … what might you shed today?


3 responses to “accretion of unwanted material of biological origin on travel backpack

  1. Mark says:

    A brave cleaning task! But I have to say you’re right–it looks like that pack has a lot of life left in it.

  2. […] collection point this past Monday and, like a moldy but super-super-sized cherry on top, the travel backpack I cleaned and put back into service two weeks […]

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