I took this photo this morning. It’s a photo of my old blue Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) book bag sitting in my alley, waiting for a new home.
I’ve had this bag for about 17 years. The zippers are perfect, the fabric nary a tear. But the inner waterproof lining is disintegrating and the bag itself is a bit heavy. Ultimately, it didn’t make the cut of items I will toss into my ONE suitcase that I use to travel with around the world. Or somewhere. I’m not sure where and I’m not sure when (Note: It depends on the activity of the Donate button to the right of this blog post) but I know this bag isn’t going to make the cut.
It’s still an okay bag though and I couldn’t bear tossing it. To the right of the frame of the photo above are rubbish bins. I was about to toss my MEC bag in but I just didn’t have the strength. This bag may not work for me anymore but perhaps it will work for someone.
So I set the bag on the step in the alley, hoping it would find a good home. I took a photo, said goodbye, hopped in my car and drove off. Then I thought about the bag all day and wondered if it would be there when I got home.
I was a little sad about that.
I didn’t know I was so attached.
But the lining… it’s rotting. I just can’t take it with me. I. Just. Can’t. There are lighter bags now. Bags with more technical fabric. Technical fabric that didn’t even exist when I bought my beloved blue MEC bag. I hope my bag understands.
And I hope I’ll see my MEC bag one day. Likely on the back of a hobo scrounging through the garbage in the alley looking for recyclables. I’ll likely go up to this hobo and hug him from behind. He won’t realize it’s the MEC bag I’m hugging.
Hugging it because the bag saw me through all my entire advertising career, my life in Toronto and, up until today, my life in Los Angeles.
Hugging it because the zippers never broke. Not one. Not once.
Hugging it because the MEC logo was noticed by people in France and Italy as a sign that I was Canadian, which meant I was friendly and could be asked questions in English, like how to use the bus or where to find the best restaurant in town.
The hobo will be confused but eventually, after years of flawless use from his new as-of-today MEC bag, he’ll understand why he was hugged in the alley from behind from a random Canadian girl.
Perhaps one day he, too, will release the bag. He’ll set it out in the alley behind his place that he managed to save up for from all the recyclables he collected in my alley. He’ll admire the stitching and the fabric that thinks it’s steel. His heart will beat a little harder on the day he releases the bag, knowing that it was a good companion. That it had his back. That it was his constant companion. That it was there for him when no one else was. He’ll look that bag sitting in the alley as I did today and say:
“That there? That was a good bag. That was a good friend.”
Goodbye my dear, MEC bag. You served me well.