Old Daily Shows--October 2003

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

Saturday October 4, 2003 Baggage

In the midst of a conversation with a friend the other day, I got to thinking about baggage. The conversation dealt strictly with emotional and psychological baggage, but I began to wonder about physical things as well.

Baggage, as a pseudo-clinical term, is fraught with negative connotations. But is it necessarily bad? I know my physical baggage has lots of emotional baggage attached (and without a weight penalty at customs), but is it uniformly positive or negative?

What can you learn about a person from what he carries daily?

I don't know that you can learn anything. But I'm curious, and so I decided to make a list of the things that, on any given day or today specifically, will be found with me.

  • Assorted clothing to fit the weather and purpose of the day, containing:
    • Timex Expedition Combo watch, on the left wrist, pointed up, the way that nurses don't wear them.
    • A tin of Burt's Bees beeswax lip balm, which is fantabulous and you should use it.
    • Napiershall keys (3). One for each of door to the close, door to the flat, and door to the bikeshed, so I can store my nonexistent bike. Came with a blue-and-teal Miller Homes keychain, which reads "the place to be" on the back.
    • Part of a Swat keychain, from freshman orientation when my parents bought it for me. It's the one with the clip that unhooks and goes around your neck. The neck bit is at home in a box, but the smaller keychain is here. Oddly, even though I kept it in my pocket, I left the neck part on for more than two years at Swat.
    • Lockback pocket knife, made by Imperial. Purchased as soon as my parents said I was old enough, for about $12 Canadian, from a J.A. Henckels shop in the Centre Rideau in Ottawa, Ontario. It's been lost several times but has, thus far, always come home to me.
    • A bandana, currently turquoise, folded in my back pocket for wiping sweat from my brow. The first bandana to fill this role was a gift from Kyla, when we were still dating; I keep it still. This one's new, though.
    • Wallet, purple, made by Rainbow of California. Purchased when I was about 10, from the St. Lawrence University Bookstore. Either the first or second wallet I ever bought. The first was a leather one, from The Leather Artisan in Childwold, NY. I was afraid of hurting it, and it was a bit too big for my pockets. The current wallet is purple and black ballistic and ripstop nylon, though it's been used for so long that the ripstop nylon is beginning to fray through.
      • Global Reach ID, as required by the Watson Foundation.
      • NY Government Employee Benefit Card, now defunct.
      • Nectar loyalty card for Sainsbury's here in Glasgow.
      • Swarthmore College ID, my second one. The first snapped in half when a Public Safety officer punched a hole through it to let me into the darkroom. But the officer did it poorly, and the hole intersected the edge of the card. It snapped soon after, during my freshman year, and I received the current card. Tattered, torn, but well loved.
      • Assorted business cards
      • Assorted debit and credit cards
      • NY driver license, the newer one, that says I'm 21+ and doesn't have the shaggy picture of me.
      • Glasgow Subway 20-journey pass, 18 journeys remaining.
      • International Youth Travel Card, with an interesting photo of me.
      • Psalm 91, printed on a sheet of paper. This entered my wallet during my senior year of high school, when I was doing independent research on pyrotechnics. Pyrotechnics tends to inspire religious devotion among its practitioners, because the compositions are quite dangerous even when handled correctly, and perfect technique does not guarantee safety. One of the authors I read wrote that the pyrotechnics company for which he worked included a print copy of Psalm 91 in every box of fireworks they shipped, and that each worker carried it while on the job. At the time of writing, they were among the few pyrotechnics shops to have had no on-the-job accidents. It seemed like a good idea, and I've kept it there since.
      • Thomas J. Watson Foundation ID, with a semi-horrid picture of me. This ID is also slightly too large, which is unfortunate because it doesn't fit well in the wallet.
      • Random scraps of paper with phone numbers and contact info. One is for my grandparents; another from a trip Eliz and I made to NYC when she was visiting Daniel.
      • Fortunes from fortune cookies. For some reason, I obsessively save fortune cookies fortunes, and any given glance through my wallet turns up a few.
      • Icelandair loyalty card from my first trip to Scotland.
      • 37.11 in UK pounds
  • Pipe case, blue ripstop nylon with black trim, made by Russell Scottish Imports, sold to me by Celtworks two summers ago. A lovely semi-hard case for my pipes. It's got padding and pockets and a shoulder strap, and I love it.
    • My plastic paper-protector strappy thing, containing: band music; solo music; half-finished letters to several people; photos of friends, family, and loved ones; Watson information packets; blank paper and envelopes.
    • My paper diary and ubiquitous pencil. I rarely write with pens unless I'm writing a letter or an archival note.
    • Blue plastic tag from the Travel Safety Administration showing that my duffel bag was inspected for drugs, sex, rock and roll, and other threats to national security when I checked it at Syracuse International Airport on 14 August 2003.
    • Musician's ear plugs, specially made and fitted to my ear canals. They're flatfall filters, which are neato and give the same sound balance as unimpeded hearing, but with less sound pressure. Normal (inexpensive) earplugs attenuate high frequencies a lot more, which makes tuning an instrument difficult.
    • Rubber stoppers for bag stocks and drone bells.
    • Chanter rubbers. And you thought bagpipers never had any fun. Soft rubber tubing to go over your blowstick to keep your teeth from digging in (and you thought bagpipers never had any fun. Our rubber-covered blowsticks are great fun, thank you. Pipers in Scotland are a much more bawdy lot than the ones at home.)
    • Fine-tip Sharpie
    • Assorted knives for reed maintenance, general dastardly deed-doing, and derring-do.
    • Boxes of chanter reeds. Chanter reeds are like people you might want to date. To quote a friend, "you've got to kiss a lot of toads to find a prince(ss)".
    • Three different kinds of a hemp: plain, yellow waxed, and black waxed. Between these, the knives, the reed mandrel, and the chanter rubbers, I'm surprised they let me into the country, even though they were checked in the hold!
    • Practice chanter. An old friend. Given to me by someone, probably my parents, as part of a "Learn To Play The Bagpipe" kit. Also included Bob Shepherd's (rather terrible) tutor book. But then, people selling self-tutor books are perpetrating crimes against their buyers anyway. Maybe self-teaching works for people who are smarter than I am. But the chanter's a fine long Dunbar-Eller polypenco, an early model from the days when Jack Dunbar and Ken Eller were still business partners. It amused me that I later bought a set of Dunbar pipes.
    • Bagpipes, made by Jack Dunbar of St. Catharines Ontario. Polypenco mounted with nickel and imitation ivory. I should have saved my money and gotten a set of blackwood pipes, in retrospect. On the other hand, many things would have been different had I done so. Things are okay now--maybe I made the right choice. I got my pipes a year earlier than I could have afforded blackwood pipes. Currently I've got a Ross canister bag tied on; I'm playing a Megarity-Ross chanter reed and Achiltibuie drone reeds.
    • Raincoat, green, from EMS.
    • Nalgene bottle, turquoise. I got it before they became all the rage--sniff--on the way to Pinewoods dance camp my sophomore year of college. It's been to basically every gig I've played since then, and a lot of other places.
    • Chamois cloth, a big yellow. Padding and scratch-preventer for the drones.
  • Backpack, L.L. Bean, navy blue. Old, battered, beaten, but indomitable. Sometimes with me, sometimes not. It has stuff in it that I won't catalog right now.

What does this say about me, other than the obvious things like "American", "plays bagpipes", or "has too much spare time for writing"? Do write to me and say.

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Tuesday October 21, 2003 Two years

Two years, I've been loving that girl. Makes me miss her all the more. But we are good and strong together.

Twenty-four months. Seems like such a long time for something that's still so new.

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