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This isn't going to be like all the other "What's in my bag" reviews, I can tell you that now. It isn't going to be a nice "Ooh, look at my cherry lip gloss and a receipt from Sainsbury's" piece. It won't come up with fake "There may or may not be a human hand", and it certainly won't be "I have a book and a tape and a mp3 player lol" article. Oh no, nothing like that at all.
Are you interested yet? I hope so. I bet you're wondering why this one's so different, aren't you? Well, it is really quite simple. See, I actually started a small piece when I first joined Ciao a couple of years ago as a sixth form student. But it was so boring! So I figured I would wait. A few days back I was clearing out my cupboards, and I found my old school bag, complete with everything in it that I had back then. So I figured I would check it out. It wasn't a pretty sight. The feint of heart may wish to turn away.
First up, how does it look? My bag is a very large Puma bag, roughly four or five years old. It is dark blue in colour with four compartments; the "main" bag, one extra pouch on each side lengthways, and on the front is a slim but long compartment. I think the bag is supposed to be a sport bag, but since I had a habit of leaving my books at home I decided to always carry them with me. As such, the bag is very very heavy. Each one of the compartments is bulging, and it is covered in small burn holes from various campfires at parties, and it is also pretty muddy.
Unzipping the side pockets first was harder than I thought. Apparently a year or so of being buried in a cupboard had been cruel to the zippers, but after some tugging and grunting it opened. All there is in the first is rubbish. Sweet wrappers, tissue, scrunched up paper.... I don't even remember most of them! A few of the sweet wrappers are going a bit smelly, and some lolly sticks are a wee bit hairy. I think it might be worth getting some rubber gloves on...
Ah, there we go. After removing the offending bulge of rubbish, I see that it is empty. I go to the other side pocket. This one's a bit better - there are a few cloths and a sponge, along with a tea towel. Heh, I remember now! See, the bus I was on had a leaky window, so I always had a tea towel to block it with to stop peoples bags and books getting wet and ruined. Apparently I hadn't washed these though, so they are going stale smelling and black, since the bus wasn't the cleanest double decker on the planet! There's also a few carrier bags, packed against the wall of the compartment. I can only guess that my thinking behind that was to keep my books safe for the occasions when the towels were in this kind of
state. Heh, ironically a few of the bags have got receipts in. Hope I don't have to eat my words!
After carefully pulling the rancid towels out of their carrier bag infested hell, I very gently put them into a big black bin bag, tying it instantly in case they have actually grown legs and try to escape. Onto the front compartment, I guess. This one opens easily, but immediately over a hundred scrunched up bags of sweets lunge out. Panicking, I jump back as the wrappers dive onto the floor in front of me, rustling like a thousand rattlesnakes. After about twenty seconds, the rustling stops. Hmm, I guess I had best explain this... Have you read my About Me review yet? If so, then you might know what I'm talking about here. See, in the first couple of months of sixth form I was pretty depressed, and I found myself eating lollipops and sweets by the bagful. I also sold them on the aforementioned school bus for 10p each, and always kept the bags from the bulk amounts I was buying in my bag. The bags are marked with "The Chewy Mix", "Bumper Bags Of Lollies (33% Extra Free!!!)", and "Lots Of Lollies". Wow, I really had a lot! This explains the amount of rubbish in the side pocket that I first attacked, doesn't it? After a quick search, I see that one of the sweet bags still has a Drumstick in it, but after being carried in the sun and squashed so long ago it melted, and I can see the corpses of various little insects in its dried up stickiness. Nice...
There turned out to be a whole bin bags worth of rubbish so far, excluding the secluded Tea Towel Demons, which are still kicking against their own bag! It has to be said, I am a little bit afraid of the main chamber of doom. With trembling hands I pull at the double-zipper, gritting my teeth and bracing myself for the worst creatures on the planets...
A waft of musty paper vapor bursts out, gently filling the room around me. I feel a bit braver, so away goes the flap that is hiding everything underneath. Nothing too scary is here on first glance. Just books, text books, exercise books, library books (oops, how high are the fines going to be!) and paper pads packed with little doodles. The books aren't just the ones I had for sixth form either - indeed, the anthology I am looking at now hasn't been looked at since my GCSE summer. Wow, I was quite the artist from the looks of it. All over my books, pads, and textbooks (again, oops...) are inked in pictures of robots, cartoon characters and random doodles. No wonder I did so bad in my exams.... Ah well, I had fun getting there! I flick through a few of the exercise books. Most are covered in notes and doodles, with red ink from the teachers pointing out my mistakes or on occasions just insulting me! "It is quite clear you didn't do this yourself" for example, when there was no working out shown. I did it in my head, Mr Goldberg, you hamster look-alike! But then, looking at some of the work it's no wonder a few teachers got a bit edgy. My writing was rough and squiggly, and there's even the occasional lolly wrapper cemented against the pages. The musty smell is still strong over everything else as I scramble through the shredded and disintegrating pages, pulling softening covers off of dirty old books. Most of them have mud stains on, and a few sweet bags are here and there. But hello, what's this?
I think I found the source of the smell. I have just found my old PE kit, unwashed, and VERY VERY SMELLY! It consists of a now rock hard pair of tracksuit bottoms and a once-white T-shirt, wrapped around a pair of ancient mud caked trainers. Both items of clothing are plastered with mud. I guess it must have been rugby on my last day, and in my excitement I forgot to clean the kit. The T-shirt is solid to unroll and unfold, and the mud is cracking and coating everything else in the bag with shard of mud and small stones. The trousers are as well, so I figure it'll be better to just throw them away. As I pick the trousers up, a few small toys fall out of the pocket, little cracker toys from over Christmas. There's a little helicopter and a car. After setting them on top of my TV, I chuck the contents of the moldering plastic bag away. Into another bin bag with the lot! Interestingly, the trousers make a thumping noise as they hit the bottom of the bag. Once again, nice...
Well, if I gain nothing else from this form of personal torture, I found a couple of plastic toys to keep myself occupied when I have nothing else to do! I look into the bag. It really is big; even after everything I have pulled out of it it's still more then half full! Since now everything looks dusty with little specks of dried dirt from my uniform, I proceed a bit more carefully. The books further down look in even worse condition. There's even one or two I haven't' seen in four years! I pull the mangled covers open and read a few lines: "Ich bin einen music fan". Hmm, I guess German wasn't my best subject! This book is covered with more red than I could imagine! So many corrections, so little time... I throw it in after my uniform, hearing the trousers squirm as they consume the mound of musty paper. Peering back into the bag I see my old planner, or as I called it the breeding ground for detention notes! There is no hope of reading this; it looks like a drink was spilled on it many years ago, and the ink from various doodles
Pictures of What's in my bag?
Me before opening the bag
and notes have merged together into a large blue stain throughout. I am getting a bit impatient now. There must be something interesting in here! Ripping books out of their nests and chucking them into black sacks can only be fun for a while. But hello, what's this?
I see a small Tupperware box, with a blue lid. The once clear box is splattered with black completely. A foul stench is pouring out from the corners as I attempt to ease it open. Slowly, it dawns on me what I am holding...
I pull the lunchbox out into the open. Examining it closer with a finger and a thumb tightly squeezing my nose shut, I can see there are a few patches where the dark mould coating the interior is clearer. I see a few fuzzy patches of white and yellow. Checking to make sure I still have gloves on, and opening a window wide, I grab the box, take a deep breath, and wrench the lid off.
A foul cloud of stink bolts out faster than a chipmunk in a bazooka. I can almost see the green cloud of stink trying to attack me, surrounding me, but somehow avoiding the open window completely. Trying to ignore the swarm of smell around my eyes I try to decide what it used to be. A shiny length of cling film wrapped around what appears to be a solid green brick informs me that this used to be a sandwich. The contents appear to be the source of the blackness, although I can't tell what it is at all. A burst orange and a splattered banana also seems to have donated their interiors to the decoration. The smell really is spectacular! I can also see a small length of plastic underneath the moldy banana flesh. Checking again just to make sure I am still wearing gloves, I pull it out to reveal a fully sealed Mars bar. Debating whether I should wash off the wrapper and eat it or not, I throw the rest of the lunch into a bin bag. And then that bag into another. Then that one into a carrier bag. Then into another black bag. Then, begrudgingly I throw the mars bar after it.
I feel a bit woozy now. I look at the rest of my bag, head spinning slightly. It looks like I reached the bottom anyway. All there is is soil and dirt, with a spattering of sweet wrappers and holes, through which I can see my now dirty bedroom floor. I pick the bag up, and look at it one last time.
It isn't heavy anymore. It is thin, flimsy, and looks slightly pathetic. Looking at it, all the memories flash back from my years at secondary school... all those books, all those notes, all those doodles, all gone. All gone, tied up in (several) black bags next to me. The PE kit gone, the decrepit lunch gone, my teenage years gone. I look one last time at the muddy "Puma" logo, smile to myself, and put it in it's own black sack.
Nothing to do now. All I need to do is take out the rubbish.