the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: luggage

Purses, Knapsacks, and Bags

An old Jewish woman crosses 83rd Street, a brown bag shlumped over her weak shoulder.

A businessman, a grey-haired fox in a tailored suit, carries documents in a black leather briefcase.

A school teacher, frantic in her step, wears her purse cross-body, tightly pulling against her chest.  Unmarried and alone, she wonders if she will ever feel a baby sucking at her breast.

Horns are honking.

“I hate New York,” thinks Mary Ellen Polanksi, a struggling media artist crossing over from the other side of the street, her arm attached to the organic tote bag she purchased in Portland.

A fat man stumbles by, his groceries bouncing in a plastic supermarket bag.  Mary Ellen Polanski gives him a look of disgust, and blames him for the world’s global warming.

A young man with long black hair and no chin, leaves Starbucks, lugging his Timbuk2 laptop bag. He knows his novel will never sell.

An Indian woman, dressed in traditional garb, holds a mustard-colored handbag which contains a packet of gum, a vibrator she used earlier this morning, and a 9mm handgun.

I sit on a bench on 83rd Street with my knapsack at my side, an old friend now ragged from years of use.  Inside is a notebook, a sweater, a letter never sent, a key to a house in New Zealand, a book I’ll never read, and a photo of her.

We all carry our own unique baggage.


Off to Visit Mom


How many suitcases are we bringing to New York?  (Remember, Sophia is coming with me.  And she is a woman.  A woman with a lot of shoes.  A woman who isn’t sure what shoes to wear in the snow.  A woman who dragged me along for four hours shopping in department stores for boots, but ended up not liking anything.  Are Uggs waterproof?  What do YOU wear in the snow?)

The person who first guesses most accurately how many pieces of luggage we are bringing to New York for a two and a half week visit will win — get this — a $1000 dollar gift certificate from my favorite retailer,! (that is, not, you idiots).  Ha Ha Ha, I love when my own blog post makes me laugh.

Now, bring on the NY bagels!

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