Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | 13 comment(s)
Pablo NerudaSome worthwhile Odes:
We are diabetics; we come with baggage (physically, emotionally, and literally). I've always known this about myself, and I've kinda had a hunch that it was true of others with diabetes, too, but have never known for sure. Reading a few blogs in the OC has confirmed it for me. Birdie over at "aiming for grace" craves more sassy satchels to carry her gear in, and Beth over at "In Search of Balance" is looking forward to no longer having to carry that extra 10 pounds worth of supplies everywhere she goes.
In addition to some (more) insights to my neuroses, I completely realize that this is practically a commercial.
I want to tell you about my backpack. Actually, I want to write a paean and sing hosannas about it too (okay, so perhaps I am feeling a little poetic). Perhaps a rock opera would suffice.
I have a green, L.L. Bean Continental Rucksack that I have worn almost everyday for the past 15 years. I purchased this backpack in Sept. 1991 as I was starting college.
It has carried books through school, clothes on trips (to England, Japan, Guatemala, & Costa Rica, to Utah, New Mexico, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Florida, Texas, & North Carolina), lunches to work, beer & wine to parties, supplies to camping, and climbing gear to cliffs.
I love my backpack.
In addition, to all of the various tasks I put it through, there are a few things that are always in it:
- The left side pocket holds about a week's supply of granola bars
- Also in the right side pocket is a ratty, lamenated, mildewed, DC City map
- The left side pocket holds my non-ipod, 40 gig mp3 player/portable hard drive, and my cell phone, and a serious tangle of earbuds for both devices
- The center zippered pocket carries has in it:
- A glucometer
- A glucagon kit
- A Swiss Army knife (except when flying)
- A small spoon (don't ask)
- Miscellaneous pens and pencils
- A vial of "Keto-Diastix"
- Usually a spare canister (or two or three) of test strips
- A compass
- A 128 Mb data fob
- A pack of gum
- Calorie King's "Calorie, FAT, & Carb Counter"
- And a spare tube of glucose tabs.
- And the main compartment almost always has a mini umbrella in it (Like my Dad has taught me: "Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it").
I wear this backpack to work everyday.
In addition to all the "regular" items I carry in it, I usually also have my lunch in it, a magazine I'm reading (e.g., Diabetes Self-Management, Countdown, Forecast, Harpers, Atlantic Monthly) or a book I'm currently reading, and clothes to change into or out of when biking to work. It gets heavy sometimes.
It gets wet from the sweat while biking or when I'm caught in the rain (that mini umbrella doesn't really cover me AND my backpack). I've had soda bottles and wine bottles explode inside of it. I think I've only washed a few times. At this point, I'm afraid it would fall apart if I were to put it in a washing machine.
It is my security blanket. I would be naked
In factMy friend Lee once exclaimed: "Kevin! You're Naked!" when she saw me without my backpack on for the first time.
If I'm not actually wearing my backpack, it is in the office drawer next to me, or by my bedside table, or in the car seat next to me, or in the closet of a house I'm visiting, or under the table at a restaurant I'm eating at. I've worn it with a suit at a professional conference once.
But I don't do that anymoreI was mocked a little by someone on the panel and I have since bought a slightly more professional side bag (also made by L.L. Bean) that I use when I'm going some where "professional."
Probably five years ago, I thought it was dead. Every buckle and zipper on it was broken. I even bought a new backpack from L.L. Bean. Unfortunately, they had discontinued the Continental Rucksack for a few years (thankfully they have brought it back, though I think it's slightly smaller) so I couldn't buy another one *just* like it at the time. But I found out that I was able to send the bag to L.L. Bean and they replaced all the buckles and the busted zipper for something like $17! It was almost like new. It had a new lease on life. I was overjoyed.
I know that it is somewhat unnatural to have some much affection for an inanimate object, but I can't help it. It's starting to show more significant signs of wear and tear around several stitches and I'm nervous about how much longer it will last. I am going to be a very sad camper (pun intended) when this backpack dies.