Saturday, January 13, 2007
Not My Bag
I hate wheelie suitcases. My backpack (rucksack for those of you reading from the rest of the world) and a strong back have served me just fine in my travels on trains and buses. It's even been just fine for moves of 3-6 months to places like Australia, Barcelona, Uganda, and Kuwait.
My backpack weighs almost nothing empty, neatly squashes into the bottom of a drawer when not in use, and when I'm fit, makes climbing stairs (like the five flights of my past-and-future Barcelona flat) with 40 pounds of luggage almost easy. I have several small packing cubes which nestle in the backpack, keeping things organized and unwrinkled.
So why then, did I go down to Orchard Street and buy a $119 Travelpro Walkabout Lite wheelie suitcase, with matching squishy bag yesterday?
Peer pressure, I reckon.
Everyone tells me I will be very happy to own the wheelie. Everyone tells me it's so much easier to tug a handle than to lurch around town sweating and unstable.
And that it looks stupid for a 40-year-old woman in a borderline management position for a growing company to show up with a dirty backpack. (This worried me until I went shopping for "office" clothes yesterday and was so revolted I was shocked back into reality, and remembered that I yam what I yam and if someone wrinkles their nose at my clothing or luggage, it's really not my problem.)
I'm trying to keep an open mind. Amanda reminded me that a wheelie suitcase is a purpose-built tool, and doesn't dictate that I will use it on every trip for the rest of my life.
"It's good for international moves," she said.
I'm sure she's right. But I think with horror of myself dragging it up the tiny several-hundred-year-old stairs in my Barcelona flat next week. Or of the dread that I will experience after merrily rolling along through the Broadway Junction subway station en route to JFK and then arriving at... all... those... stairs.
Then, there's hiking in and old of the Old City in Barcelona at 5 a.m. to catch airplanes, and there's no way out but on foot, and I would arrive puffing and red at the airport bus stop, while the other tourists stared at me with concern from their perches atop their wheelie suitcases.
We'll see how it goes. I'll give the wheelie this chance to convince me of its usefulness, by taking me first to Barcelona and then to Cairo. If it doesn't work out, I can use it for winter clothes storage in my garage. If it does work out, I'll just have to schedule more international moves.