17
Oct 2014
Josie Bungert

The Grand Schlep

Schlep: to carry or pull (something) with difficulty : to drag or haul (something) [thank you Merriam-Webster]

As I write this, I have just sat down on my bus home from work. I have learned many things about mass transit over the past few weeks, (all of which will eventually be blogged about when I find the time) but the main thing I have learned is that taking the bus is an excursion, or as I more commonly refer to it, a grand schlep.
When you take the bus to work, you are forced to take only the necessities for your day. But sometimes, the necessities take up a lot of space. There are some riders that not only have their work bag, but a backpack, or a lunchbox that doesn’t fit in their work bag. These work bag add-ons as I like to call them are pretty much harmless, and very common. If, between your lap and the floor space you have beneath your feet, you can fit all of your stuff, it’s not that unreasonable.
Some people, though, have much more than that. Coming from the suburbs, if you’re going to be “up in the city” all day, you really never know what you may need. Some people carry two coats, or an extra pair of shoes, and I can’t imagine that number decreasing as we head into the frigid Minnesota winter. Some people, because they are up in the city all day, and taking the bus in rush hour both ways doesn’t leave them a lot of free time outside of work, pick up their dry cleaning, dinner, and sometimes children, in the city. Thus creating a bus full of schleppers.
It may seem like it bothers me, but it doesn’t, because in order to function all day 30 minutes away from your car, sometimes you have to have a lot of stuff. I know that this is the thing that bothers me about the bus the most. I can’t bring five different layers, two different lunches, and three different bags, simply because there’s nowhere to put it on the bus, when I get to work I just have a cubicle space, and I have not mastered the true art of carrying it all. So really, I commend those that have learned the art of schlepping,
Schlepping really is a skill that I for one am terrible at. Today I got a free coffee mug at work (yay) and it could not fit in my work bag (audible gasp), so I am currently holding it in my lap with my bag, praying it does not fall onto the speckled floor and shatter (oh, Kate Spade, I love you so, but your bag really isn’t built for over stuffing, and whoever says leather can stretch is lying). It’s good that I elected to hold it because I wouldn’t want to ruin my beautiful French Navy bag that I adore, but at the same time it sucks because unlike the people who carry backpacks that they can overstuff and that can accommodate carribeaners which allows even more space for them to schlep, I alas cannot, and am stuck carrying anything outside of my typical work bag necessities in my clutzy, too-big-for-my-body hands.
Everyday is a schlep on the bus whether you’ve mastered the skill of taking your backpack, work bag, newborn baby, and parka or you’re like me and the trip is hard enough when given something outside of the workday essentials. However, a perk of the bus is the people watching. So today I commend the schleppers and shall spend my weekend aspiring to be as skilled as they, for on Monday it will be freezing and I may have to bring a second coat (wish me luck).
Got any good public transit stories? Tweet at me, @jlbungert