Baggage: I know the word from childhood, used to describe rabble in German. The word is derived from the French word bagage, meaning luggage. But stemming from the older French term “bagues”, again meaning luggage and already hinting to the English word “bag”. Bagage originally described all that was needed to come along with the military. Soldier’s luggage, food, necessities, animals, arms and so on. And the folks travelling along with the military. I think it was because of them, the term itself became invective. These folk’s reputation was as low as the reputation of plain criminals.
Back home in Austria the word is spelled with one g: Bagage. But not only used to describe scumbags of every sort, but proper luggage, too. Which brings me to handbags.
If I could, I would not use a handbag at all. Unlike many women, who are said to be trapped everytime with shopping for handbags (and shoes), I would much rather not have to carry one. But then again, I am a woman and have to bring small items along, whenever I leave the house. The older I get, the more items I need. Glasses, for example, are the new addition, I can’t do without. Then – in my case an absolute necessity – there are the cigarettes and a lighter. If I plan a longer evening out, I might even need two packs of cigarettes. One also always needs hankies. If only to wipe the glasses clean once in a while. Then of course, money in a purse. The mobile. A paper pad and a pen. Sometimes a lipstick (seldom used), a comb (never used, why do I bring one?), headache pills (more often used) and some sanitary items, women need from time to time. Along with the car keys and the house keys, all this piles up to a substantial heap of stuff, that would not fit into coat ot jacket pockets, without looking odd.
Whenever possible (which is, whenever I come along in my sweetheart’s car), I still can do without a bag. I stuff some cash and plastic money in one trouser pocket and hankies in the other. Glasses and cigarettes I carry in my hands. That’s me, ready to go. He’s the one with bulging pockets, having to bring his phone, the keys, lighters and so on.
However, for work and in everyday life, I have to have a bag. During the last couple of years I just used a black Samsonite computer satchel (as I need to bring my lap top to work sometimes) that I used as my everyday handbag, too.
Because I had to travel recently, I rummaged around to find a smaller carrier to come along in my handluggage sized suitcase. Thus, I rediscovered my travel handbag right at the bottom of my closet, which is a textile tote made of greenish-blueish-yellowish dotted cloth, held together with a dark brown leather bottom and handles. Just the thing for travelling, because on top of all the items listed above, it also comfortably houses travel documents, one or two books and my camera, if need arises. Plus, emptied out, it folds real flat to be stuffed into the suitcase.
It has been promoted to official “handbag”, since I rediscovered, how convenient it really is, to have all that extra space available. I just fear, that it will populate itself with lots of items, that are put in it once and are forever forgotten there.