Seven weeks ago today I broke my ankle. The short version is: I’d been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for six months (I’m bad-ass like that) when during one of my classes, I stumbled during a takedown and landed awkwardly with my own ass on my right ankle (I’m clumsy like that). I cracked my tibia, fibula and some other ankle bone that I don’t know the name off. For the next six weeks I was in a cast and had to crutch around everywhere, not putting any weight on the injured ankle.
As you can imagine, this created loads of inconveniences. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t drive, couldn’t take out my own trash or go grocery shopping. For years I’ve prided myself in being self-sufficient and independent. And after a year of muay Thai and half a year of jiu jitsu, I was starting to feel physically strong for the first time.
And then, suddenly, I wasn’t.
I became utterly dependent on my amazing friends and family who have been driving me around, bringing me food, helping me clean, etc. etc. etc. I understand that I’ve been very lucky. But also – it totally fucking sucks. Like, so hard you guys.
So what can you do when life hands you those shitty apples? You learn to do what you can. It’s all about the small victories. Can I carry my trash down the stairs and around the other side of my apt building while hopping on one leg and using crutches? Nope. Not unless I want to break my other leg. But I can balance on one crutch and sweep up the litter in front of my cats’ litter closet and then drag my shower stool out of the tub and sit on that while I scoop the litter and then hop up and wedge my left crutch into my armpit and let that carry the weight of my body while I hold the trash bag of used litter in my left hand and hobble the 6 feet to the trash can. I can do that. It’s gimpy and pathetic and tiring and makes me sweaty, but it is something I can do. So you can goddamn guarantee I’m going to do it.
Along those lines, I’ve had to come up with creative and embarrassing ways to carry stuff. For the most part, I can get around my apartment by putting stuff in plastic bags with handles that I can grab while still holding the crutches. Most of my food has been eaten out of Tupperware containers that I can fill up in the kitchen and then carry out to the living room in a plastic bag. It’s like getting take-out, except I don’t have to leave the house!
My purse, however, was more of a problem. I usually carry a small shoulder bag, which fits snugly into my armpit. But the crutches were in the way of that, and I kept having to make my friends carry it for me (I think John looked best with it, just sayin). So then I tried carrying a backpack, but the straps of that were also taking up precious armpit space and it was throwing off my crutching rhythm. I could have tried a messenger bag, but I didn’t want anything swinging around and getting tangled up in the crutches.
So really, the choice was clear:
(photo by John Collier)
Yep, that’s a fanny pack.
The thing is, fanny packs are really convenient. They snap on like a belt and you don’t have to use your hands or your armpits (which are surprisingly valuable real estate) OR your friends to hold them. That’s a win in my book. And they’re right there at waist level. They allow easy access to my wallet and keys and I don’t even have to take it off to open it. My purse and backpack can’t claim the same.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s not 1989 anymore, so where the hell does one find a fanny pack in this day and age? The answer is, of course, ebay.
I started my search, expecting to find fluorescent relics of our most embarrassing decade. And they had some of those (for only $5 plus shipping!). But I was surprised to find they also had a variety of updated looks as well. Which led to the thought: who, besides broken and shameless people like me, were buying these things?
China. China is buying and selling the shit out of some fanny packs. This is why they’ll take over the world someday; because their arms and hands are free from baggage. All the (relatively) cool ones I found were all modeled by hip-looking young Asian men and were being sold out of Bejing.
I narrowed it down to a few:
I thought this was cute and clean-looking. I think the attraction was that it looks more like a purse that is strapped to your waist (as opposed to a neon, watermelon-shaped, backpack material monstrosity). But it looks a bit stiff, like it might stab you in the stomach while you’re sitting (not being a hip Asian man, I wouldn’t be able to rock it on my side like in this picture). Let’s try another.
This one is cute and sporty (I have a thing for Puma bags) and doesn’t look like your grandma’s fanny pack. Also, it is clearly labeled as an “amazing item” so it’s hard to imagine going wrong with that. Still, I was hoping for something a little more rugged. Something sturdy and enduring and maybe even a little adventurous. I wanted the Indiana Jones of fanny packs.
YES. A thousand times, yes.
So I ordered this baby from China and it arrived within a week. I was relieved to see it looked just like the picture and seemed made of sturdy material. Then I noticed this tag on the inside of it:
This company understands its target market.
Indeed, this is technically a fanny pack. But I prefer to think of it more as a hip satchel. Or maybe a wallet holster. Or perhaps a shutthehellupbecauseIcancarrythismydamnself sack.
So, anyone else want to own up to having one of these?