I regret to say I am not a very fashionable person. I am never quite sure what looks good on me, so I do not own that many fashion items and I do not experiment with too many colours or styles. I maintain my inventory small, and I use the items as long as I possibly can. I say I like to keep it simple and modest… but maybe others find me dull and outmoded.
But, once in a while, I do get the urge to venture. A few years ago, I spontaneously bought a leather bag in crimson red – a colour I would not normally choose. I bought it without much thought, because the moment I saw it I knew it would match another item I bought spontaneously many years earlier, a cashmere overcoat also in crimson red. And I instantly knew I had to have it, so I could finally take the overcoat that remained in the dark corner of my closet because I had no fashion item that went well with it.
And so, I welcomed home the new crimson red bag, and together with the old but unused crimson red overcoat, they became THE go-to items during wintertime… and here they are, few years later:
Don’t they look just lovely together??
Although the overcoat is still in very good condition, the bag very unfortunately can no longer hide its many scars and bruises. So, this winter, I began to think seriously about its future, including a possible happy retirement plan as the last resort, as its owner sincerely grateful for all its services up until now.
I started out by consulting a leather product repair worker nearby, and the diagnosis was…
Repair worker: “Oh, it doesn’t look too good. It’ll need its trims replaced and colour redone.”
My inner voice: “Transplant operation and chemotherapy!? Will it hurt?!”
Repair worker: “But I gotta tell you, all this still won’t get it back to its old self. And it’ll suffer more wear and tear if you keep using it, so I suggest you come back periodically.”
My inner voice: “No cure, only temporary alleviation of symptoms, and the fear of relapse is to remain!? What’s the point, then?!”
Repair worker: “The repair works will cost you this much (and points to a number on the price chart)”
My inner voice: “That’s more than what it originally cost!! And it’s already fully depreciated… hmm, is it really worth getting repaired??”
Repair worker: “Yeah, it’s pretty expensive, but it all comes down to how much you’re willing to pay to preserve the emotional value you place on the bag.”
My inner voice: “So I’m a cold-blooded, heartless owner if I choose not to repair in the indicated way and at the said cost?!”
Maybe I am, putting cost-benefit analysis before measurement of my attachment to this bag as I contemplate over its future.
Maybe if I love it as much as I say I do, I should get it repaired and checked up periodically, at all costs.
But maybe all the scars and bruises are wounds suffered in combat… from being extremely accommodating to an overload of paperworks I keep stuffing in, and from being ever so courageous in protecting me from all harm in overcrowded commuter trains day in and day out.
Then maybe I should not consider the inability to hide them as a reason for retirement.
Maybe instead, I should be considering giving it an order of merit, a bravery decoration, or a long service medal.
There will be places where I will no longer feel comfortable taking it because of its aged appearance. And I will be hesitant to ask of it the same services it has provided me up until now, afraid of sending it right through to cemetery before it can enjoy retirement. So, I have decided on a plan going forward: I will let a younger bag in my inventory take on its heavy-duty work, and spend only leisurely time with this one once I adorn it with a badge of honour… ooh, I’m gonna be sooo busy looking through tatting patterns for a medallion that will go well with it!
How is this for a happy retirement plan for the bag?