The laptop bag story

October 10, 2013

When I first left my corporate job, I almost immediately purged my house of everything that reminded me of it. I went through and threw away almost everything that came home with me that final week in boxes – the old stress toys with vendor logos and the multiple faded, branded drink mugs, especially the one that the corporate cafe would give you 25 cents off of your soda for using if you brought it in instead of using one of their disposables.

I shudder to think about how much soda I drank during my time there. Yucko to the max, man.

Anyway, I didn’t keep anything around. I was incredibly grateful for that chapter in my life, but once it was over, I wanted to move on. No reminders.

I was digging through our coat closet a few weeks ago before we started packing the house and realized that I wasn’t completely diligent on that task.

I still had my laptop bag.

Once I saw it, I realized that I had known that bag was still in that closet, smooshed and folded into the far back corner on the floor, between the vacuum and a hair-filled chair cover we used to use for the dog, for months now. Years even. But I didn’t do anything about it. I left it there.

That bag has been with me a long time.

I bought it at The Limited shortly after I graduated college. I think I was shopping for “professional” clothes and eyed it, sitting atop a rack of clothes and displayed with several other bags and purses. I reached up to turn around the tag, preparing to wince at the number, as it would surely be way out of my price range. After all, it was large and black and had two red leather stripes that ran up the length of it and connected to the medium black looped handles. In my naive 22 year-old opinion, it was the very definition of professional. It was plainly not meant to be a purse, but a stylish take on a briefcase. It was rectangular and vertical, not horizontal. And it wasn’t boxy or canvas or just plain black.

I had to have it. I remember looking at the price tag – it was more than $40 but I remember it being less than $50 – and nodding. I can do that. I can totally do that. I thought.

I didn’t buy it that day, but I planned for it, and a couple weeks later I went back and made it mine.

$40-some odd dollars on a briefcase that I didn’t need was a big deal back then. I had just graduated and had a great job in front of me, but extra cash was something I did not have in excess.

The first week of work that July, in my week-long corporate-wide introductory course, we were assigned our laptops. (Or “devices”, as the company called them. Why they couldn’t just call them laptops I have no idea. Moving on.) With that device assignment came the gift of a standard issue black canvas laptop bag. I accepted it with a smile and tucked it neatly underneath my chair. When I would later be introduced to my permanent team and assigned a cubicle (shudder), I tucked that briefcase into one of my overhead bins, closed the lid, and rarely, if ever, opened it again. Standard issue canvas? Ha. Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha.

I carried this black and red bag every day to and from work, carrying my laptop, charger, and notebook. Every morning I would pick it up from my entryway at home – lug it into work alongside my purse, place it on my desk, unpack it, and then 9, 10, 11, 12 hours later I would reverse the process and take it home. Every day, every week, for six and a half years. The same bag. Over and over and over.

So I guess you could say that that bag represented something. Even in writing all of this (let me keep it real right now and say that I’m not really even sure why or how I have written so much about this silly bag), I’m not sure why it was such a big deal. Perhaps it represented the little bit of me that I tried to keep afloat while I was drowning in corporate normalcy. Perhaps it was my effort to stand out, or to notice the little things during the day that could make me smile amongst the so many things that were making me unhappy. Who knows.

But I carried it. Twice a day, every day, for six and a half years. And then one day without much flourish, I carried it home empty, threw it into the closet, saw it every few days but didn’t “see” it, and left it there for over 3 years.

It’s weird what you keep. And it’s even weirder when you keep something that you can’t really even describe why you’re holding on to, you just know you aren’t ready to let it go.

I finally let it go. I guess it was time, because I finally saw saw it sitting there scrunched up in the closet, picked it up, dusted it off, smiled at the memory of how much it was used and loved, then swiftly walked it downstairs to the donation pile.

The final final piece of the corporate chapter of my life, done. Wrapped up. It was time.

And there you go, almost 900 words on the cheap, odd piece of my past corporate life that I inexplicably held on to for way too long. You’re welcome! Ha. Sigh.

Have you ever held on to something that was a part of your “past” life? What finally triggered you to get rid of it? Do you think it represented something important to you?

Have a great week, all.


P.S. I had photos of this alleged bag but they up and walked away, and I spent way too long digging for them in the mess that is my iPhoto. Sorry!

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