On using the wrong strap

Backpacks, like suitcases, are something I ought to know more about than I do. I have carried some kind of backpack/rucksack/satchel/shoulder bag/handbag/bookbag/shopping bag/sport-kit-bag/…. almost every day for the last 25 years, on average probably multiple times per day.

Having said that, and considering how long quarter of a century sounds, I haven’t actually had that many different bags.

This is mostly because I get attached to them but also because I don’t like shopping much. This means I wear (/use?) them until they wear out or fall to bits, whichever comes first.

My latest is no exception.

It was one of the last in a box in Aldi. It was (and is :)) purple and perfectly tined to coincide with finally having to admit that a bag with 2 broken zips is more than defunct. It was perfect, in the way that only Aldi-backpacks can be perfect.

I bought it and ignored the small voice telling me it was probably sewn together by small Chinese children, pacifying my conscience with the knowledge that if I bought it it would almost definitely get more use than leaving it for someone else (which admittedly is no excuse for child labour).

That was a couple of years ago.

These days, as a result of daily maltreatment, 3 tonnes of textbooks and a couple of bottles of water, it looks like this:


This is a very good example of not heeding the stitch-in-time proverb. I am now looking at a whole lot more than nine stitches! 🙁

My bag is in the process of losing a strap, and I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I will need to mend it.



In the meantime I am learning, or at least trying to learn, to use the other strap instead. It’s a whole lot harder than it sounds.


I wear my backpack on both shoulders if I’m walking any distance, but I heave it onto my left shoulder first, and leave it there if I’m only going a couple of paces. If I need to take anything out of it without putting it down, I’ll swing it off my right shoulder and rummage through the contents, leaning the weight on the left strap.

I think this left-shoulderism stems back to a black leather shoulder bag I inherited from a friend (who goes through bags at an astounding rate of knots (or bags) in year 8 or 9. It only had one strap and I had to choose a side. I don’t remember what I did before that.

Moving to Germany meant multiple flights (and other journeys) made with a wheeled suitcase and a laptop bag. I, probably automatically by then, wore my laptop bag on my left (although strangely, often with the strap on my right shoulder), leaving my right side free for a suitcase. Having the suitcase on the right also meant that it was usually between me and the road which I think is generally a good thing.

After 5 or 6 years I had a fight with a suitcase . Now, 11 years on, I am almost incapable of changing sides. It feels so wrong, and my entire stance  unstable,  but I suppose that just means there’s more reason to practise.

Apparently, according to an article I read a while ago (and which I can no longer find), using the wrong hand to do routine activities (like brushing your teeth) can improve all kinds of things like memory or creativity etc. Here’s a link to a different but similar article. Maybe it works with carrying bags too…
…then maybe I’ll remember to mend it at the weekend (and be creative enough to get a load more revision cards written. 🙂

0 thoughts on “On using the wrong strap

  1. Hmmmm… as a back pack enthusiast, I do recommend that you go shopping for a new one! It will get used to you after a time and feel just as good as the old one!

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