A Chiropractor’s Dream

When someone throws out a writing prompt challenge, I generally accept.

Back in January, Susan Bearman kicked off her Annual Writing Contest on her blog, Two Kinds of People (2KoP). Susan is the master at writing about “the folly of arbitrary divisions,” as she says (case in point: this post on Fan vs. Fanatic). And, she makes it look easy. Her open prompt, “[p]ick your own favorite Two Kinds of People topic and write about it,” gave anyone interested all sorts of flexbility. But, what I learned in trying to tackle this prompt was that, well, Susan is a master.

My submission didn’t win – congrats to Deborah Carroll who did (you can read her essay here) – but it was a fun exercise. So, I’ll share: my two kinds of people.


The Chiropractor’s Dream

A guy named Tim Ferriss wrote a blog post a while back describing how he can travel carrying 10 pounds or less. “The name of the game…,” he says, “is being ‘fashionably light.’” I’ve never been called “fashionable,” and, in my mind, “fashionably light” doesn’t even compute. Mr. Ferriss’ post on traveling contrasts with my own practices and solidifies my belief that people on the move fall into two separate camps: those who pack light and those who pack.

I don’t travel light — not on vacation, not when I go to work, not when I return home from the supermarket. I’ve never been a Den mother for any Boy Scout (the closest I’ve come to any Scout is paying seven dollars for two boxes of Thin Mints), but I pledge the Boy Scouts motto just the same – Be prepared – and therein lies my problem. I’m notorious for filling every pocket of a purse and occupying every inch of dead space in a bag. And, while I’m fully prepared for any and all emergencies on a given day, my inability to pack “fashionably light” sometimes leaves me looking and feeling like Igor in “Young Frankenstein” – humped over and eyes bulging.

I could blame my proclivity to over pack on being a mother. My kids are young, so I offer plenty of good reasons why I carry extra notebooks and pens, snacks, bottles of water, and one (or two) bags of tissue. But, “the kid excuse” does little to explain why my bag for work weighs almost as much as my four year old daughter. No, my days as a pack horse began long before I became a mother.

I was nine years old when I received my first invitation to a tea party. My best friend from down the block asked me over for the afternoon and suggested I bring a few of my stuffed animal friends. Like many kids, I possessed a whole slew of stuffed companions, all of them important. With a tender heart and a lot of patience, my mother helped me load each bear, bunny, and doll into several paper sacks (they wouldn’t fit into just one), and she asked if I was sure my friend meant for me to bring so many.

“Oh yes!” I said, emphatic, the word “few” being a relative term in my world even then.

We filled the back seat of her 1979 red and white Mercury with my bags of friends, and she drove from our house at the top of the hill to my friend’s house at the bottom. For all I know, she put the car in neutral and coasted down the hill, we lived that close. Then, she gave up five more minutes of her time to help me unload.

When I read a post like the one Tim Ferriss wrote, I dream of being a minimalist, of standing upright while I walk to work, of gliding through an airport with, say, a free hand to wave at a passerby. I stare longingly at small travel bags in stores like REI, and I run my hand across the face of a cute little clutch at the mall. And sometimes, like last week, I succumb to the dream. I buy a new bag with the sole purpose of downsizing, of lightening my load and correcting my posture.

But, my motto always gets the best of me.

Downsizing is a temporary fix.
Leather stretches.
And, that new bag I’m carrying is getting fatter by the day.


What about you? Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a woman thing. Remember George Costanza and his wallet?….

* The above photo comes from www.moviemarket.com. Search under “Marty Feldman.”



13 responses to “A Chiropractor’s Dream

  1. Pingback: chiropractor camarillo family chiropractic

  2. I don’t carry purses, I haul around messenger bags. I could blame it on a NY state of mind and an overhead strap is safer, but we know I’d be lying.

    Mine began with walking everywhere and needing that book for downtime, your wallet, a bottle of water, these days cell phone, and of course paper and pen. The paper and pen were for people who didn’t have patience to look at me so I could read lips. Add in a dozen of those must have things, hair clip, brush, etc.

    These days it actually makes life easier with a working dog. I ‘need’ the water for her, add in a collapsible bowl, and plastic bags for the occasional relief. Cards verifying she’s a working dog. Sigh, I doubt I’ll ever be able to carry anything ‘less’ than a messenger bag. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. Years before I had kids, I’d liken myself to a land turtle carrying my “house” on my back everywhere I went. I didn’t have a car and took the bus across town to hang out with friends. Better to be a boyscout, I thought, then to wake up on a couch with contact lenses glued to my eyes or bored out of my mind while waiting for the cross-town back home.

    Only, now that the youngest is potty training and spring is a promise on the morning sun, I’m dreaming of losing the heavy bags and the backache, opting instead for a messy, cluttered car replete with everything two girls and a ma could need.

    Great post, Christi!

  4. Oh my, do I relate. I have a few “minimalist” purses gathering dust in my closet. I don’t remember when my “over packing” started, but since I’m something of a packrat, I presume it started early. But, unlike you, I don’t have a delightful childhood tale to verify it. 🙂 Be prepared has always been my motto. And I’m proud to say my family often benefited from and came to depend on that. So there! 😉

    • Linda,

      Yeah, I think it’s important to recognize when family reaps the rewards of an over-packer. Many times we’ve embarked on a journey in the car (across town, to the grocery store, whatever) and all of a sudden everyone’s thirsty. Someone’s dying for a snack. That’s my moment to shine, I say!

  5. Love this, Christi. The image of all your stuffed friends in the backseat as your mother’s car rolls down the hill is wonderful!

    When I was on book tour I felt like a mule, over-packed and exhausted as I schlepped through airports, always admiring the perky, fast-walking women who careened around me on the concourse with nothing but a small weekender in tow. Though I’ve tried, I’ve come to accept that I will never join their ranks.

    • Beth,

      Before the airlines regulated the weight of luggage, I packed clothes in a suitcase the size of a table for four. And, my wardrobe isn’t that extensive. I’m not sure what I put in that suitcase! Crazy!

  6. Christi, what a great piece! I’m really glad you shared it here. The area in which I can most relate is books: whenever I go anywhere, even for a simple overnight stay, and I have to pack enough books to satisfy whatever reading craving I might have. All I can say is that the last time I traveled by air, my back was soooo grateful for my Kindle. 🙂

    My son would have done exactly what you did with the stuffed animals. He had an undying loyalty to each and every one, and didn’t want any to feel left out. 🙂

    • Lisa,

      I don’t have an e-reader yet, but that’s one reason why I would buy it, because you never know. You know?

      And, my kids are the same way about their stuffed animals. Just when I think I might downsize (because, hey, they’ve got a problem with too much stuff…), I remember the “story” that goes with each little animal. *sigh* I’m a softy.

  7. The Compulsive Writer

    It is amazing how many water bottles, baggies of fish crackers, cars and McDonald’s toys are in my bag right now! Great post!

    • 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Andi. I popped over at your blog, by the way, and ditto on the “My car is 10 years old and I have a gym membership I don’t use.”

      Back to ridiculously heavy bags, my mother-in-law recently gave me a purse organizer, and, while I can find everything a few seconds faster, it did nothing to lighten my load. Organized does not equal minimalist. *sigh*

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