Monday 11 January 2016

A haaandbag?

We were over in England visiting family including my favourite 22 y.o strong woman Dau.I. Somehow, we fell to talking about handbags . . . as you do when getting in touch with your feminine side. I was going on about the over-specification of stuff, so that The Man could sell you two items where one generic item would do for two related purposes. My rucksack, older than Dau.I, has a main section, 33lt in extent with two side-pockets which can each take a 1 litre water-bottle, there are other parts but it is not really much more complicated than that.  15 years after I bought that, I announced my intention of going on my long walk through Spain.  My work-mates clubbed together to buy me a, then modern, ruck-sack that was a labyrinth of zips and Velcro and about 17 separate compartments. It was about as handy as Rowan Atkinson's multiple-zipped trousers.  It weighed 2x more than my old pack and so, in the final packing I took the lighter, older model.

ANNyway, Dau.I was talking about a pal of hers who, having acquired a baby, had bought a hospital/nappy/diaper bag which was full of dinky sections and compartments: for the nappies, the wipes, a spare Babygro, probably disposable gloves, a baby's juice bottle, mother's 15ml slug of gin etc. etc. She said that the most obviously handy thing was that the bag came with a tiny changing mat. Not as a changing mat, because it was really too tiny; but it was really suitable for sitting down on a wet seat while waiting for a bus. The upshot was that she went off to Amazon to see whether there was a hospital/nappy/diaper bag that would do for carrying six novels, a writer's notebook and the other hape-o-stuff that she lugs about on a daily basis.  You can imagine the outcome: for the next several weeks her interweb experience was seen through a gale of advertisements for gripe-water, baby-buggies, mobiles, pop-up books and all the paraphernalia that modern babies require/acquire. I had a similar experience last year with a ludicrous red toaster, which haunted my interweb for about a month.

Years ago, I was privileged to teach courses in molecular evolution and bioinformatics in Norway and Finland.  It was under the auspices of EMBnet, the European quango of which I was the Irish node.  The latest EMBnet wheeze was to print several hundred neoprene mouse-mats with a map of Europe and the EMBnet logo.  My Finnish minder asserted that these were really handy in Finland for sitting at bus-stops without freezing your arse off.  All very well for you, slim-hips, I thought, a sofa-pilot like me would need four mouse-mats and some duct-tape to hold them together. I really enjoyed teaching in Finland, the students had a very dark sense of humour that would often crack me up.

Talking about dark sense of humour, The Beloved was ear-wigging on our earlier conversation about nappy-bags and contingent advertisements. She suggested that the only way to get Amazon off your back was to look for books like "Grieving through miscarriage".  See how the Amazon algorithm deals with that!

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