Thursday, April 05, 2007

You are an obsession, You're my obsession...

The entire country is obsessed with plastic bags. Also known as "pakets". Not bookbags or briefcases. Plastic bags. That's what you use to carry things.

As someone put it, there's nothing funnier than a teenager trying to look tough who's dressed all in black and carrying a plastic bag covered with pictures of roses.

At first, the plastic bags really bothered me. What happened to bookbags? Messenger bags? Something durable? Something more visually appealing, perhaps?

Now, I carry my socks to and fro in a grocery bag when I need to do laundry at school. It seems totally normal. When I have too many things, I just stuff some of them in the nearest bag, and take it with me wherever I'm going.

In Russian grocery stores, bags aren't free. You have to ask for them and pay, usually, 1 ruble per bag (not expensive, which almost makes me wonder why they bother). On the train to Moscow, when we stopped in suburban areas near the city, entrepreneurs crowded our compartment, hawking the virtues of the various pakets they had for sale. As this woman did, you can even find a booth at the market specializing in plastic bag sales.

It has led me to a new hobby. Bag-watching. Instead of people watching. You can sit on a train or a bus or in any public space and watch all the different bags passing by. You can compare and contrast their color, quality, age and contents. Like pets, you may search for a physical resemblance between pakets and their owners.


Blogger Heather said...

That is very interesting! I just tossed one I got from the Teacher Store here in town... Maybe I should save them and start a collection to send to someone over there.

4:40 PM  

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