Did you ever have one of those moments when you look up all of a sudden and it’s obvious that everyone in the whole world got a memo that you missed? This happened to me a few years back with cell phones. I didn’t have one, wasn’t worried about it, blithely living my heedlessly anachronistic and old-fashioned life and then WHAM! All of a sudden I realized that EVERYONE, including young children, had one and that without one I was like a telegraph in an internet world. Also as soon as I got one I found out that without one I had been missing out on a basic fact of modern life: I *need* to talk on the phone all the time. Why hadn’t I realized it before?! Those leisurely 8 minutes walks I used to take from the grocery store to my house in the evenings after work, lugging my milk and cat food, listening to the tweetlings of birds and the screech of the basketball coach’s whistle in the nearby school gym – no more. I still do that about half the time but I’ve also discovered those walks can be prime phone time.
My mother lives in
The reason I bring this up is that suddenly, in just exactly the way Malcolm Gladwell describes it in his book The Tipping Point, what used to be a sort of now-and-then in my experience has become everywhere, all the time, by EVERYONE. Until a few weeks ago it was EVERYONE BUT ME, but I did get the memo, however belatedly, and now I’m one of them too. Here it is: Everyone here carries their own shopping bags. Everywhere. I keep a couple folded into the carry-all I take with me to work every day, just in case I stop by a store on my way home. Suddenly, we’re all green and eco-friendly and carrying canvas/linen/polyester reusable bags.
We haven’t yet gotten to the my-bag’s-better-than-your-bag phase (or if we have I’ve missed the memo YET AGAIN) but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned up at some point.
Being me, I’ve approached this new trend in two ways. First, I’ve started a collection. (Hey, I’m a museum person.) I think about it as a collection, and I try to rotate the bags I use so that the entire collection wears at the same rate, and no one bag suffers from overuse. I now have reusable shopping bags from Trader Joe’s (both with Hawaiian themes for some reason – also the straps are too long for me and I don’t like them as much but they do hold more than any other bag), a green one from Shaw’s supermarket, and a black-and-white one from Fairway Market in Manhattan. Naturally, I will soon add soft red compact ones from Target - they come in their own pouches! For the collection's sake I need bags of varying colors, textures, sizes and weights, but I’m already well on my way to total usefulness. Second, I’ve done some research. I looked online. These are the bags I’ll be adding to my collection soon, Envirosax and Reisenthels. Aren't they pretty? These will be the pretty, girly, boutique shopping bags I'll carry with me. The others are sort of the fashion equivalent of denim overalls - useful, but no one's every gonna say, "Ooooo, pretty" while you're wearing them.
Maybe this is a phenomenon only in the Northeast, but you should keep an eye on the mailbox. Your memo will probably turn up sooner or later.