Unpacking Myself

Left to Right: Backpack, Jacket, Speaker, Laptop, Spare Mask, Phone, Wallets, Gum + Snacks, Shears, Mouse, Pens, Glasses, Calculator, Headphones, Webcam, Charger, Water Bottle, Tourniquet, Book, Kindle, Flashlight, Keys, Earbuds, Deodorant, Notebook.

“Every man carries with him the world in which he must live.” -Writer Francis Crawford

This quote by Crawford is most likely meant to be a metaphorical statement on how everyone has their own perspective and world view that they bring along, but I believe this quote also works as a literal examination of why we carry around the things we do.

Laying out my bag, I see a pretty basic layout for a student in the era of virtual education, multiple chargers, books and notebooks, earbuds, a Laptop, jacket, and my phone.

These key items are not very interesting or unique, but it is the ‘mini-motifs’ that you can see in my bag that really can shed some light on what I value in the world in which I live.

The first theme that is prevalent in my bag is that of music. I carry around multiple audio devices just so I can always have a music during the day. Whether it be earbuds while exercising or just walking around, noise cancelling headphones for working, or a speaker to share the music – I love having my day filled with music as it really makes the tedium of the day so much better.

Next, I have a couple survivalist / first aid tools that are at the ready for a scenario in which I might have the opportunity to help myself or others during an emergency. As an EMT, I know just how valuable something so basic as a tourniquet or shears can be in a life-saving environment. Bad things happen all the time, and having something that can get you or others out of a pinch can be very valuable for no cost of space or convenience.

Finally, I have a tech undertone throughout my items. Although it may not carry the “gamery aesthetic” of hard contrasts, RGB lighting, and big logos around it, my laptop is a very powerful productivity and gaming machine. So, in the very off chance that I do have free time to boot up Doom or Cuphead, I am always ready with a mouse and a detachable webcam + mic. My phone doubles as a notebook I can write in with a stylus, and my kindle is a personal library condensed into my palm.

Overall, I think this really does say a fair bit about me. I am someone who fills his life with music and games in order to stay sane in crazy times, and am also someone who is ready to help others in a time of need. This little exercise of just examining items in my bag really does expose a slice of the cake that is my passions and personality – while, interestingly, it seemed that it was not the large things that said much, rather the little quirks that I carry that set me apart from every other person’s baggage.

What Would Have Been…

Pictured here:

bookbag: the Isabella is so old, you can not find this style in stores anymore; was rescued from an old closet when my Herschel broken down in the middle of senior year

iPad: the lightest 5-subject notebook I’ve ever owned

laptop: functioning was better pre-quarantine when it did not need to be charged every other hour; likely weighs 100 pounds since I nearly break my back carrying it

pencil case: contains 2 pens & correction tape for the mistakes that are too tragic to look at

calculator: stoichiometry

wallet: carries embarrassing ID pictures & expired metro cards that I will one day exchange

planner: my pride & joy; withstands my tears and aggressive cross outs; understands my limits

vaseline: a necessity when it gets lower than 65 F; must constantly be replenishing itself because it never runs out

airpods: great for traveling, bad for Zoom

earphones: great for Zoom, bad for traveling

I have been studying at home for months, so I tried to show that things that would have been in my bag. It was interesting to see how many of my “materials” have become tech, because a few years ago I would only carry a pair of Apple earphones to school. Overall, though, my picture certainly feels a bit odd: a mix of study-influencer with my airpods, laptop case, and planner cover, but also a bit of whatever she could find and need–which I think is representative of who I am. I try to fit an aesthetic, but I mostly just care about functionality. I would say the part I enjoyed most was the cataloging portion because I did not feel restricted by traditional grammar rules and went free form in my descriptions. I definitely do consider it writing because I was able to describe my items in a more comical way that revealed my sarcastic personality (speaks to the autobiographical nature of this assignment).

Side Quest 4: What’s In Your Bag?

Due: 9/20

Tag: sq4

Find a relatively large empty space. Take your backpack, messenger bag, or whatever sort of bag you carry around with you regularly, empty all the contents out, and arrange them carefully so that they represent a visual snapshot of the stuff you tote around with you on a normal day. Then take a clear photo showing your bag and the stuff and upload it to your site.

Note that like the avatar or the literacy narrative, this too is a type of autobiographical composition. If you have something in your bag that is private, embarrassing, or for some other reason you don’t want it in the picture then make the editorial decision not to include it. Or vice versa: if you would like to assume a certain kind of persona then you might consider including items in your catalog that might be less than fully true.

Add some text to your post listing the items represented in your photo, preferably adding in a bit of explanatory and/or funny commentary along the way. This can be a paragraph of text or a list or whatever format seems most appropriate for you. When these sorts of posts are done by publications, like say The Verge or Timbuk2, they are often not so subtle efforts at product placement but for our purposes there is no reason for you to engage in such advertising games.

Along with the photo and your description of the items, include a paragraph reflecting on what it was like to craft a self-portrait through this photograph. How actually representative is this image of you as a person? What sorts of choices did you make in order to create the image? What was challenging about this assignment? Is representing yourself in a catalog of the stuff in your bag a type of writing? Why or why not?