Tuesday, March 08, 2011

One Bag

Get ready for work.  Wash hair--check.  Dress all in Bean or Bauer--check.  Find book and notebook--check.  Print out worksheets--check.  Stuff everything into one bag--check. Wonder if I really want to do this. 

I need to get out of the Matrix.
I'm not an uber-teacher. I'm an occasional teacher. I get haggard and raspy-voiced. Then I find a nice long freelance job and don't think about teaching for years.  Then I teach again, because (a) it's going to save the world, or (b) I need to get out of the Matrix. 

People insanely call me up.  I say insanely because I don't advertise.  What happens is they say they want to learn my subject and somebody passes on my name.  And then I feel obligated. I've overprepared an estimated seven million times.  I overprepared again last week.  I can't be Miss Bishop (the heroine of Bess Streeter Aldrich's novel), but I can overprepare. One hour, 10 worksheets.  Just in case. 

The biggest problem is packing all my materials into one bag. I'm a one-bag fanatic. One bag... "indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." I used to carry two or three bags but it was a punishing weight-bearing exercise.  Sometimes I had to ask my husband to help (this for my night classes).

Do I need a huge shoulder bag? Or a totebag? I found this bag on the internet (it comes in different colors).  I like the look of it.  But shoulder bags are unwieldy. Too much weight on one shoulder can disturb the equilibrium of the back. 

How about a messenger bag?  I have occasionally slung one across my shoulder and back and it's much more comfortable than a shoulder bag.  But it's still not optimal for balance if you carry too many books. 

A backpack? Yes.  Balance is essential.  Perfect stability. You can cram as many books and notebooks as you need and it just rests in the hollow of your back.  You're not aware of it.

And so I'm back in the work world again, "editing" my bag for next time because I realize I don't need to carry The Complete Works of X.


Anonymous said...

Two Monday nights ago I came home with bad low back pain; by Tuesday noon (after I went to the gym), the pain went right round my abdomen. I too carry books -- have them just in case. Far too many than I need.

This week I told myself I would not hurt myself again and vowed to carry less. I did manage and I had less back pain.

I carry two bags so as to equalize the weight.


Frisbee said...

It is difficult to know how to carry books. Last year I was giving old textbooks to students, and I carried totebags and a backpack upstairs and found the hauling very difficult. I'm much less involved this year, in that I no long give supplementary books to students who can't afford them. I'm saving my back.:)