From fanny packs to tortoise holes

As Jeff and I begin to count the days until the Daily Show’s Rally to Restore Sanity next weekend, I have to start thinking about packing. I realized that I need a good, old-fashioned fanny pack to carry my stuff because I don’t care to be encumbered by a purse in a crowd of several thousand people. Unfortunately, fanny packs are currently out of style, making them impossible to find in local stores, so we set out today to find a substitute.

I don’t understand why on earth a useful tool like a fanny pack would be subject to the whims of fashion. Why can’t they be like purses—necessary, but with new and exciting designs? How else can one carry a decent amount of necessities without being stuck with the burden of keeping track of a purse? Even a backpack isn’t as useful, because it’s on your back (hence the name, right?) which, therefore, makes access difficult for the wearer but simple for a pickpocket. The fanny pack sits right there at your waist, just the right size and completely hands- and worry-free. So why can’t I buy a fanny pack, just because some fashionista has decided that they are passé? (Yes, I can get one on eBay, but that’s beside the point.)

Today, Jeff and I got on the bike and ventured out into the world, which is a wise thing to do once in a while anyway. It would be really easy to never leave the house except to buy groceries, because we really don’t have anywhere we have to go, both being unemployed. Staying in the house too long begins to feel like we’re covered with slow-setting cement, and the longer we go without getting out, the harder it is to break the crust of lethargy. So out we went.

On the way out the door, I finally happened to see our back yard tortoise at the same time I had the camera handy. One of my favorite things about living in Florida is the interesting wildlife (minus palmetto bugs … I could live without them, thank you very much) and our area is abundant with gopher tortoises. They are the bane of the construction industry, because they are protected species and if the construction cannot avoid a gopher tortoise burrow by 25 feet then a permit for relocation is necessary from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Our neighborhood has numerous tortoise holes, and one is right in my back yard.

You’d be amazed by how quickly these guys can move, in spite of their fabled sluggishness so I had to get over there quickly to catch it before it popped into its hole. They stop moving once they sense your presence, and send out pretty strong “get away from me” vibes, but once they realize that you’re not a threat, they go back to zipping along the grass to get to their hole as fast as they can.

Sometimes they get stuck crossing the road and it’s not an uncommon sight to see a car parked on the shoulder with the driver getting out to move the tortoise, who has frozen in the middle of the road because they sense the presence/threat of cars. The general rule of thumb is to just carry them across the road the rest of the way, in whichever direction they were pointing. It happens all the time and is just one of the many wonders of living in this part of the world.

So once my hard-shelled neighbor ducked into its hole, we went off on our mission, to find a substitute fanny pack. We headed to Walmart, but stopped at a garage sale on the way. I found this multi-use bowl for sale and took a picture because I don’t know that I’ll ever see another sign like this again. I didn’t buy it, however, because I simply do not need a mud/cement mold that can double as a dish for chips, vegetables or anything else, even if that is a whopping good price.

Once at Walmart, Jeff parked the bike in a row we’ve never parked in before and I took a moment to praise the uniqueness of this choice. I know this might sound weird, but when you don’t have a lot of money, you have to find your joy in the simple things, like parking in a spot you’ve never used before. I know for a fact that we never have parked there, because we always park on the far side of the building and have never been able to walk straight into the front door from our parking spot.

It reminded me of my habit of always keeping one bathroom stall in a commonly used public restroom as a mystery. For example, whenever I’ve worked in an office with multiple bathroom stalls, there is always at least one stall that I will never use. That way, no matter how long I’ve worked in the place, and how familiar and ho hum the place becomes over the years, there is always at least one place I’ve never seen. And on my last day working there, I will use that stall.

We passed through Walmart, in search of my new bag, and found this sticker on the inside of a large plastic storage bin. I believe this is just good advice: don’t store baby in a bin.

Finally, after searching the purse and backpack department, I found a bag that will suit my purposes in the camera department. It is the perfect size for my “writer’s kit.” It’s a camera bag for one of those big clunky cameras with the big old lens, and it’s the perfect size for my digital cam, cell phone, voice recorder, a pad of paper, a pen, batteries and business cards. It even has a belt loop attachment. I’m good to go! Washington DC, here we come!

Here's you a dog and Jeff's face Photoshopped onto Alice from the Brady Bunch. Amazing resemblance, no?



4 responses to “From fanny packs to tortoise holes

  1. I love the unused stall idea. I’m gonna steal that and maybe morph it too. I like your neighbor, btw.

  2. Wow! Great tortoise pics. I have seen giant snapping turtles move really fast too. I once found a great belt/fanny pack at Goodwill, and since have also found a camera case that works great too. I hate pocketbooks, and only use really small ones that can double as a belt pack. The bigger the purse, the more shit you carry that you really don’t need, and with my “bad” back that can get downright painful. As for the pic of Jeff/Alice ~ that is downright spooky!

  3. I’m glad you found what you needed but I bet you could have found a fanny pack at a sporting good store. I have one I use that has a bottle holder in it and I wear it all the time when I go out walking. I guess I am not fashionable, LOL but I don’t care.

  4. Thomas Phillips

    It’s called “planned obsolescence”, or “marketing strategy”…. in other words, the hog’s snorfling snout is in the trough, as always. Some things never change, it seems.
    “Epiphany Quest” was amazing…. one hopes that when one traverses the outer parameters of the inner/outer universes, that the immediate becomes deeper and more archetypal; gossip and prejudice less meaningful. But then again, everything’s a circle, as Captain Beyond once commented.


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