- new textbook from a publisher, The Bedford Book of Genres
- other new textbook from a publisher, writer/designer
- old textbook, currently in use, the one I use in my class
- lovely bound book in which I write occasional notes to myself, or sketch out ideas, or, apparently, in which I stick random pieces of paper and so forth and so on--postcards, etc.
- folder with the manuscript of a work in progress
- sheaf of draft poems from my class (if you measure this in symbolic weight, it is the heaviest thing in my bag)
- book that came in the mail yesterday, Contingency, Immanence, and the Subject of Rhetoric
- other book that came in the mail yesterday, Mics, Cameras, and Symbolic Action: Audio-Visual Composition for Writing Teachers
- my lunch
- my mug
- an empty water bottle.
The people, let me introduce to you the contents of my other bag:
- MacBook Pro
- power cord for my MacBook Pro
- other manuscript of a work in progress
- adaptors and whatnot
--and to the bag itself, which is
- elegant, but made of a kind of heavy tan leather.
And also, meet my purse, which has in it
- three dry-erase markers
- two pens
- wallet with tons of
- coins that add up to about $2.03, in the smallest denominations possible (i.e.: pennies)
- four lipsticks
The other day, as I bent down to lift up my bag, then my other bag, then my purse, and probably some additional random item or two, and brandishing my keys in my free hand, whichever that hand might have been, I said to the guy in the Publication Center, "Gotta gather all my bags," with a little smile, because I am aware that it is ridiculous.
And he replied, in all seriousness, "You do carry a lot of stuff."
I had to parse that for a minute. Was he generalizing from this very specific set of particulars--that is, "Today, htms, you seem have a lot of stuff to carry"? Or was this, like, an observation from, say, as long as he has known me? As in, "Your natural state of being seems to be that of a carrier of stuff"?
Why do I need to carry around four random books, books that I know in my heart I will not be able to take the time to peruse or skim or even open? In my heart, I know this, but in another part of my heart (big heart), I also happen to believe that days are inherently capacious and surprising, and that I might, at any moment, need to consider immanence and rhetoric, or enumerate the genres, or whip out a mic or a camera (note to self: need field recorder stat).
I carry the books because they symbolize the possibility that there might be room for something more, something better, something more contemplative and exploratory, instead of just the one thing after another that my days actually are.
Once, another colleague, in observing me and my laptop and a whole bunch of other stuff traveling down the hall, opined that I might need a llama to help me with my burdens.
Sometimes my back hurts, and sometimes my shoulder.
The people, it is possible that I carry around too much stuff.
(metaphorical and otherwise.)