Friday, December 19, 2008

Adventures in Commuting

Man, I really do love my new backpack. However (comma) I just learned something new about the zippers.

So there I was...

I wanted to catch the "early" bus home (4:15 p.m.). I was the last guy in the office, but one of my JOs was off at the Pentagon picking up a pouch that he had to bring back to our office before he could go home.

If I left before he got back, then I had to do the secure-the-office checklist, set the alarm, lock the tumbler combo lock on the door, and sign the sheet on the door showing I had secured the space on my way out. In that case, he would have to undo the combo lock, unset the alarm, drop off the pouch, reset the alarm, and relock the door again (and also technically sign in the sheet noting he opened the room again and then sign the sheet again that he closed the room again).

I really didn't want to be a "check-valve"and bag him like that. Then again, I really didn't want to have to wait 45 minutes until the next bus at 4:50.

I went ahead and did all the secure-the-office checklist and got everything ready so all we had to do was set the alarm and lock the door. Then I waited for him at the door.







I tried calling his cell phone twice to find out how far away he was and how soon he'd be back, but I got his voice mail.

Having NO idea how far away he was or just when he'd be back, I decided it was time to call the ball. I set the alarm, closed the door, and was JUST about to spin the tumbler on the combo lock when he came walking down the passageway. I felt bad (sorry, D!), but what would you have done in the same situation? At least he didn't have to reopen the combo lock.

Now, I'm REALLY pushing the time limit on getting to the bus stop on time, so I start jogging down the street to the bus stop. (Aside: I LOVE these shoes. They are SO comfortable, and it wasn't even an issue to jog a few blocks in them.)

First my cell phone rang. I wanted to make sure it wasn't anyone from the office like I forgot something important there, so I stopped jogging and dug my cell phone out of my pocket to see who it was.

I finished the phone call (trying to coordinate meeting up with a friend later) and resumed jogging. Now I'm reeeeeeally cutting it close on making it to the bus on time, so I pick up the pace a bit. My backpack was flopping around on my back, so I tighten the shoulder straps up snug.

Jog, jog, jog, jog, jog-zzz, jog-zzzzzz, jog-zzzzzzzzzzZZZZZIP!

Suddenly, I felt my center of balance substantially shift. I felt like I had a wild monkey (or maybe a 4 year old) hanging onto my waist and flopping back and forth against the backs of my knees.

I looked behind me to see the contents of my backpack strewn across the sidewalk behind me.

What I learned about my backpack from this is NOT to leave the zipper tabs for the main pocket at the TOP of the backpack. The weight of stuff in the outer pockets will pull down on it and cause the main pocket to come unzipped. In order to prevent this from happening, I need to make sure the zipper tabs are left down on either SIDE of the backpack.

Stop jogging. Loosen the shoulder straps so I can take the backpack off again. Pick up contents from backpack and stuff them back in. Rezip the backpack shut. Sling the backpack over my shoulder and really start hurrying down the street to the bus stop.

Luckily for me, the bus was 3 minutes late, and I made it just in time to get THE LAST OPEN SEAT. Man that was a close call.

I sure hope I grabbed everything that was in my backpack. I'm having a panic attack that something fell off into the bushes next to the sidewalk and I didn't notice it in my hurry to get repacked and resume jogging to the bus.

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