Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

Lessons from a Gym Bag in an Airport

Things are often revealed in time . . . .

            One year my wife gave me a gym bag for my birthday. Though it was hard parting with the one I had owned previously — a promotional extra from the Flying Pig Marathon —  our cat pissing in it helped convince me to abandon my comfortable workout companion.

            Upon inspection, I determined it was a really nice bag, considerably more durable than the Flying Pig freebie. Among its many features was internal netting that kept sweaty clothes separate from clean ones and a rather spacious external storage compartment.

             Then I began fumbling through a pouch on the opposite side.

            “That’s not a pocket,” my wife Felicia explained. “It doesn’t have a bottom in it. I don’t know what that’s for.”

            Sure enough, the pouch was sewn onto the bag on both sides, but not on the bottom. How strange!

            Nevertheless, it was a nice bag, and it would accompany me to the gym on a regular basis.


            The next summer, my wife and I took a trip to California. We had borrowed luggage from my sister-in-law, two of those roll-aboard suitcases that had wheels and retractable handles, which enabled effortless toting. Of course, being that Felicia needed to bring her entire wardrobe, she got the larger of the two.

            As we made our way through airport security, we experienced frequent stopping and starting as we weaved our way through the maze of retractable line barriers like cattle in a corral. My gym bag, which I intended to carry onto the plane, fell off the top of my wheeled suitcase as I parked it in an upright postition.

            As Felicia retrieved the fallen bag, I instructed her to try sliding the gym bag over the suitcase handle through the fake pouch. To our amazement, we discovered that it slid snugly over the handle rails and rested securely on top of the suitcase.

            “So that’s what it’s for!” I proclaimed, having once and for all solved the mystery. We found that we could effortlessly wheel the tandem luggage all over without fear of anything falling off.


            Out of context, the bottomless pouch made about as much sense as the human appendix. Necessity, however, revealed the loop’s obvious, intended function.

            One might consider this an anecdotal argument for authenticity in instruction, that we learn best under real-life conditions. Or perhaps people with leanings toward corny interpretations might prefer this be a parable, teaching that we are all equipped with what we need; these things only await our discovery. I, on the other hand, choose a more practical analysis: nobody’s going to sew fabric onto thousands of bags without having a good reason for doing so.


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