I’ve taken to carrying what I call a man bag. Like Seinfeld’s “European carry-all,” I carry just about anything I need in it. Sounds like a purse? Well, you’d be mistaken, my friend. This is no purse. It’s simply a downsized version of the computer backpack I used to lug around.
I started carrying my man bag back during the summer when I was cycling to my office. I’d been preparing for the donut race (see “My Time at the 2011 Tour de Donut”), stretching my commute to 30 miles. I didn’t want my heavy laptop on my back for 2+ hours, so I started leaving it at the office and doing more work on my iPad.
So what’s in my bag, you ask? What does a man need other than his phone and wallet? Here’s what’s in my bag:
- My iPad — I take this everywhere. It has all my music in it and books I’m reading. I can access documents I’m working on (Google Docs, Box.net, Dropbox) and the online planning center I use to organize worship services and musicians. I often write blog posts with it. I love it. The best ministry expense investment I’ve made, aside from my guitar.
- A bluetooth keyboard — This makes the iPad easier to use for extended typing.
- Moleskine notebooks — I have one larger notebook, about the size of my iPad, that I use for meeting notes, sketching out creative ideas, and extensive planning. I have a smaller notebook about the size of my Bible that I use in the morning for my devotional journaling. (I usually leave my Bible at home, since I have the ESV Study Bible app on my iPad.) And still another even smaller, pocket-sized notebook I keep in the outside pocket of my man bag. In this notebook I jot down quick ideas and to-do’s.
- My wallet — I don’t like keeping my wallet in my pocket. Not in the back, at least. If I’m wearing cargo shorts in the summer, yes. The inside breast pocket of my coat, yes. Too often, though, I’d leave my wallet behind. My man bag is a safe, memorable place to put it.
- Pens — I’m picky when it comes to the right pen, so when I’ve found the right one, I have to hide it from my kids. Right now I’m liking the Uniball Jetstream. Nice smooth ink. Soft but not too cushy. A good grip.
- Earjamz ear buds — These sound sweet when I’m at the gym or a coffee house that’s playing crappy music (or no music at all — more on that for another post). My Earjamz aren’t quite as good as the ones I use on Sunday morning but are as comfortable since they use the same soft foam tips.
- USB thumb drives — Tucked safely in my man bag, I never have to wonder where I left them last.
- Fingernail clippers — Again, if I don’t hide these someone will swipe them. I don’t keep a file, though, because the dust gets all over everything.
- Lip balm — Gotta keep my lips moist when I’m singing. You don’t want to hear lipsmack in the mic.
- Gum, mints, an emergency Clif Bar, some Aleve.
- My dad’s Swiss Army knife — Mom gave this to me after his funeral two and half years ago. I’m not sure how Dad would feel about my keeping it in the man bag, since he always carried it in his pocket (like most men). I feel a little manlier, however, just having it with me, and I remember him every time I use it.
So there you have it. I carry a man bag, and I’m not ashamed. And I don’t care if the black bag doesn’t coordinate when I’m wearing brown shoes.