Monday, December 13, 2010

I Bag to Differ

There's a lyric I like from the musical Rent: "Life is short, baby/ Time is flyin'/ I'm looking for baggage/ that goes with mine."

(fyi, this is Mimi responding to Roger when he sings, "No one's perfect/ I've got baggage!" Also fyi, I am deeply sorry about imposing this cheesiness on you.)

At some moments when I mull the future and my heart isn't just filled with gratitude for my good fortune (which has been immense in so many ways), I think of those lyrics.

A caricature of me, at my worst, could resemble a cartoon of a woman who has shopped too much: Dragging around 14 shopping bags and three purses, weighed down by at least three outlandish hat boxes... and a sweating porter in tow who's schlepping several more of her bags and boxes.  (...think maybe Lucy Ricardo after shopping midtown and lunching at the Plaza before being found out and scolded by Ricky?)

But my baggage, of course, isn't a tower of cute hat boxes. It's everything I worry about (including worrying too much). It's whatever has rained down from what a dear and funny friend once dubbed "a sh*t cloud" that, he joked, hangs over me. (He lives amid similar weather conditions, which he bears with a similar sense of humor.) My sh*t rain has been the whole last five years, plus my best friend's recently diagnosed stage IV cancer, and maybe a little other sadness or sordidness.

Back to Mimi and Roger and me. How could anyone not feel daunted to fall in step with someone like me with all that baggage? Not be overwhelmed by it, and even not mind helping carry a little sometimes?

I might have met such a person, who himself appears to lug a mere, stylish carry-on bag. A person who seems caring and fun and smart and not intimidated. I'm not one to cross bridges before I come to them. But, at this moment, it feels like maybe I've glimpsed something like the start of a nice little rainbow. Of the standard, vivid ROY G. BIV variety - no matter what kind of cloud precipitated it.


  1. Baggage sucks.
    But traveling light also kind of sucks.
    Maybe you fit together.

  2. I know I'm not a boy, but I'd carry ALL your baggage for you. Sounds like a great pickup line "I'll be your Porter..." hahahaha. Bethy you're the cream filling, the center of the candy, the silver lining of any dark cloud!

  3. What I've learnt doing my own shlepping after some very sh*y downnpours: You do not have to keep on carrying all that baggage around with you. You can drop some of the millstones, hat boxes, poison containers and mean bricks. and someone travelling light may be able to help you shed some: they usually have encountered some suitcases and bags as well but have decided at one point or another to leave them behind.

    I prefer to image of just a rucksack -- nobody travells sans anything -- but that leaves your hands free -- for some one to to lead you and for you to lead her.