Uma Therman as bag lady

Uma Therman as bag lady

A friend recently remarked on how multitudinous human beings can be when discussing the joy of travelling with only a rucksack. This word is defined as:

  1. Very numerous.
  2. Consisting of or containing many individuals or elements.

I agree. My backpack marks the beginning of my own consumption’s ‘long-tail’.

I cannot find things in my bag, because it’s packed with stuff. When I enter my workplace and can’t find my work badge, I have to crouch down on the floor and dig through the thing, usually swearing under my breath for not putting the badge in my smaller bag within the bag, carried specifically for this purpose. This bag within a bag also holds my Blackberry (work), iphone (personal), tea bags, pens, and other odds and ends. Of course I also have to bring my respective power cables along, always a book; gloves, umbrella, lotion, makeup.

These are the basics. I also like to tote my ipad, drawing book, clothes for another occasion, glass bottles of green juice, and foodstuffs in plastic containers (which are not always sealed properly).

My partner points out that I’ll be fine in case the business world ends. I’m a “prepper”.

I was never one to keep stuff though, as my mother realized very early on. I threw her money away once when I was three, and she always felt the need to rummage through my waste bin when I cleaned my room, sometimes finding babysitter checks or coins I had accidentally thrown away. When I was in the 4th grade, she was baffled that I could lose my coat while playing, or my shoes. I just couldn’t seem to keep a hold of things. As I got older, I would lose serious things, like keys…always the keys.

That’s not to say I don’t like collecting things. I’ve inherited my mother’s love of kitchen appliances. Crock pot, juicer, food processor, dehydrator, blender, and coffee maker make my kitchen complete. My mom still wins though. She has all that, plus bread and pasta makers.

Recently I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have an art exhibition simply displaying a pile of electrical apparatuses from one particular person’s history? I would need to find a person that actually kept their first Atari console, as well as all the game devices that came after. What an impressive pile that would be!

Things are the distracting trinkets of our busy minds. How many brands of cereal can there be? How many types of hamburgers can McDonald’s create? What does your car say about you? And your perfume, those new shoes?

“Things” are our character costumes. It makes me think of my Barbie obsession when I was a little girl, as well as my obsession with all of her pretty things! I wrote a poem for her, in memory of my own, inner material girl.


barbieAn ode to Barbie
Picturesque in her beautiful box
Barbie wears heels, she never wears socks.

Sparkly dress and plastic-pink purse
in a ‘material world’ is this dame immersed.

She must have a car, and a house, too
Barbie met Ken at a doll barbecue.

Barbie Party, glamour and shine,
everyone’s beautiful,
lip gloss and wine.


In all seriousness, I am amidst efforts to simplify my life. Less is more.


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  3. There is a scultpure at the Eden Project (or there was) of the combined electronic waste a person throws out during their lifetime. It was quite big, and Im sure itd be even bigger fr us these days, even though ur devices are getting smaller…

  4. Cool! I’m not surprised this has been created already…and things may be getting smaller, but I think we’re making up for it with our need to have the latest version of everything. The next iPhone will require a new type of charger, for example. Wonder if something arty could be made from all the old ones..

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