As a child I laughed at my mother for always carrying around shopping bags. Whether we were taking a walk to the convenience store or to the local park she always had a bag in her hand. When we shopped at department stores like JCPenney, Macy’s or KB Toy Store my mom would always ask for the largest bag at the register. Even if all we purchased was a pencil she needed her shopping bag. It was a sight to see a woman standing at barely 4’11” carrying bags that at times she dragged across the floor. My sister and I would shake our heads and giggle. I’ll never be like that I said.
One day my husband of two years and I were cleaning our house when he asks me a question that catches me completely off guard. “Why do you leave so many bags lying around the house?” “What are you talking about?” I said. “All these bags everywhere. What do you have in them anyway?” “Stuff that I need,” I said. “Well, maybe you can empty some of them out and put everything in one bag,” he said. “Okay, I will,” I muttered. There that fixes that. Or so I think...
Recently out of the blue my boss asks me if I want to leave my “bags” in her office. As I'm laying my things neatly on the floor beside her chair she turns to me and asks“What do you carry in those bags every day anyway?” “I, uh (sigh).” I uttered the words I never thought I’d hear come out of my mouth. “I guess I’m a bag lady…just like my mother. Not the homeless kind though…” I said nervously. She laughed and walked away as I slumped my shoulders over.
Okay, so I’ve become the kind of person who carries the “just in case stuff,” you know the napkins left over from a meal at a restaurant (That’s another story we won’t get into now). I carry a notebook for inspirational purposes, a light snack for when I get hungry during the day, and other necessary items. Okay sometimes I leave junk from a week ago that I no longer need in my bags. I’m a clutter bug as my husband likes to call me.
I guess whether we like it or not we always end up inheriting something from our parents even if it’s something as neurotic as carrying a shopping bag to the local coffee shop. So, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I am now heading the new generation of bag ladies in my family. She inherited it from her mother and now it’s passed down the line to me. Well, I’ll carry my bags proudly!
So the next time someone asks me why I carry so many bags I’ll say to them, “Because I never know what I’ll need.” I can almost see my mother nodding with an “I told you so” look on her face.