Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Improving My Image

I had an over-sized, traditional laptop bag. It held my laptop with a couple of inches to spare on either side, plus the power supply, my cellular card, half a dozen pens, some printed documentation, sugar-free gum, a couple of spare hard drives, assorted cables (USB, ethernet, firewire) an LED book light, wireless mouse and adapter and, sometimes, my lunch.
There was a lot going for that bag as far as utility.
On the other hand, it was massive.
I could hardly get it down the cubicle row without bumping it somewhere. And it weighed a lot, even empty.
I've been looking for a replacement for well over a year, but I hadn't found the right bag.
There were some which looked awesome and lacked some function I needed and there were plenty which provided the proper space for my stuff yet were at best a lateral move in terms of fashion.
Then I found a backpack from Built NY.
In addition to being waterproof, the thing looks to have been built to save the electronics no matter what grim fate befalls their carrier.
There is the main laptop pocket which my Mac just squeezes into, a side pocket which holds a few small items (like the power supply) and a tiny pocket on one of the straps which holds my cellular card and (if I bend it) a pack of gum.
It weighs next to nothing and stretches to hold whatever I cram into it and the wide straps don't make my shirts wrinkle.
The thing which most drew me to this case, however, is that it was offered as one of the final big prizes from MyCokeRewards and that made the price (in this case free) worth the risk.
I could not get the army green pictured above, but preferred black anyway.
What I did not realize until I crammed my laptop into the thing before taking it in to work for the first time is that it doesn't look like a laptop bag at all.
The low-profile, matte black, utilitarian backpack looks like nothing so much as a bullet-proof vest.
Even empty and piled on the floor of my cubicle it seems to leak a sinister energy.
I've had two separate managers stop by to ask me how I'm doing while nervously glancing at the bag.
Co-workers who previously inquired if my old laptop bag was bulky enough have been almost ominously silent with regard to this bag.
The strap across the chest which is meant to connect the shoulder straps in front for ergonomic purposes even looks like some kind of holster mount just hanging there.

Training yesterday was everything I expected it to be.
I was a little late to the morning session since I was still working the issue from the day before, so I had to grab a seat up front.
Also, there was no coffee.
And the whole morning session was devoted to things which I picked up on the mean technological streets starting almost a decade ago.
The fact that these circumstances followed a World of Warcraft raid which lasted until midnight the night before made staying awake the accomplishment of the day. Not that I accomplished it, just that I assume it was the thing which may have been expected of me.

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