Friday, December 6, 2013

The Complainist Fiction: Bag-Bag

No, I don’t need a bag. This really isn’t that much stuff. I mean, I have two hands! I can probably carry my stuff with just my hands! That’s what hands are for, right? 

Wait, is it a small bag? 

A small, paper bag? 

Oh, with handles? Oh. 

Now, normally I would say “no.” Definitely “no.” Because, you know, it’s about the environment. That’s where we live, right? I usually am like, a real bag-reusing wizard. I’ve got this bag that I stuff full of other bags. I call it my bag-bag. The kids are always reminding me--Mom! Get some bags from the bag-bag. And when we see someone in front of us at the grocery store, using a lot of plastic bags, we say, Oh, that’s a lot of bags to put in Bag-Bag. And then we went from that to this idea that Bag-Bag would get a belly ache because of all the bags. And from there, it was a pretty short jump before Bag-Bag became a sort of character. A person in our lives. We’d see litter or something, and be like, Oh, that would make Bag-Bag sad. Bag-Bag sort of became our environmental conscience. We’d say, What would Bag-Bag do? Should we drive, or take the car? Well, how would Bag-Bag get to the store? I’m thirsty. Can I get a bottle of water? Well, what would Bag-Bag say about a bottle of water? Don't you think Bag-Bag would rather you wait and drink water at our house so you don’t need a bottle? Bottles of water make Bag-Bag sad.

So usually I would never take a bag ever. Never dream of asking for a bag. You offered me one, so yeah, I’m thinking about it now. I’m thinking about maybe letting you give me a bag, since it has your logo and everything on it and it’s made out of paper and it’s recyclable but I would absolutely never ask for a bag. Besides it probably has your name on it, so I’d be doing you a favor, carrying it around, advertising right?

Oh, yes. It’s a nice-looking bag. Not one of those obnoxious, plastic “thank you” bags that are all crinkly and thin and make you look like you just bought dinner at 7-11 or something. Those bags are the worst. That kind of bag I would definitely refuse. That’s the kind of bag that we crunch down all small and hide in Bag-Bag and pretty much never use again because it’s embarrassing to bring something like that to Whole Foods where everyone has their own canvas bag or recycled bag or something.

I’ve never told anyone about this, about Bag-Bag. But the saddest thing was when there was that crazy oil spill in Florida and down there. The BP one. My youngest, Tree, she was worried about the pelicans and the alligators and everything. But more than anything else, she was worried about Bag-Bag. Isn’t that kind of sweet and weird? She took Bag-Bag to the couch with her, like this sack of bags was a person. Or, I guess, more like a teddy bear. And she talked to it and watched TV. And she’d be so sad at dinner time after watching the news all day. She’d be so glum about the oil spill, and she’d say, Can I eat my dinner with Bag-Bag? What could I say? She was my little environmentalist warrioress and I had to say yes. Had to let her eat dinner with Bag-Bag.

Then, though, she moved him into her room. There I go now! I just called Bag-Bag “him” like he was a person! But the sack of bags was for a specific purpose. To keep bags handy, so that when I need one for shopping or whatever, or for putting a new bag in the little trash bin in the bathroom or wherever. So that I can say, “No thanks! I brought a bag.” Which I usually do do. I usually bring a bag. A bag from Bag-Bag.

So Bag-Bag is not a toy. Bag-Bag is a receptacle. Bag-Bag is a tool for keeping me from having to spend so long talking to you about bags! You don’t need this conversation. You don’t need my whole life story! But here I am, talking to you about Bag-Bag, and all because Tree keeps moving Bag-Bag!
So everyone’s at school. The kids are at school. I need to go shopping. So I need my bags. I need some shopping bags. So I’m going into Tree’s room. Now, I respect my children’s privacy. They’re human beings. They’ve got their rights. But I go in and there’s Bag-Bag. Right in the bed. Under the blanket. The bed is made, more or less, and there’s this bag stuffed with bags and it’s peeking out of the covers. I mean, in the sense that a plastic bag without a face can “peek.” I don’t know why it bothered me so much, but it was kind of disturbing.

Kids get home. Tree runs to her room. Comes back. Says, “Where’d you take Bag-Bag? He was having his rest time.” And I say, well, I needed Bag-Bag because I needed bags for my shopping. That’s the whole point of Bag-Bag. Keepings bags ready for when I need to buy groceries. So we have food to eat. So Tree says, Bag-Bag is my friend. We don’t use our friends. We don’t pull the insides out of our friends.

What am I supposed to say to that? What am I supposed to say to Tree about bags and Bag-Bag when she gets like that? Hopeless. You try to teach your children these lessons. About the environment. About friendship. And then we hit this impasse. So, I skipped it. I said, fine. Take Bag-Bag. Take your friend Bag-Bag, and I’ll just get all new bags. And won’t that make Bag-Bag sad? Tough!

So you understand where I’m coming from, I’m sure. You get me. You understand that I’m not going around, being wasteful, accepting bags that I don’t need, bags that are just going to end up in a landfill choking pelicans. You know that even though I am going to say yes, yes I would like a bag, you understand that I am not a bag person. I’m a concerned citizen of the planet who, because of some complicated circumstances, is forced, today, in a unique, very unique situation, to accept your gracious offer of a bag to put my things in.

Paper bags are better anyway. We all know that. They aren’t as bad as plastic bags because they’re made out of paper and not plastic.  They don’t get added to Bag-Bag, either. Paper bags go into Brown Baggie. Brown Baggie is better too. She’s fun because since she’s made out of paper, Tree and I decorated her with magic marker and she has this big crooked smile and I always like seeing her when I go into the pantry to fill her up with more paper bags. 

Actually, now that I’m looking at it? Could you double bag please? Thanks!

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