I always knew that when I would start this Blog, I would write an entry entitled “Square Bottom Bags,” heretofore referred to as SBB. Sincerely and truly for my entire teen years, I longed to be a person that bought things; clothes, make-up, whatever, heck! even groceries if they came home in a SBB. Instead, everything we bought (and it wasn’t very much) came home in a plastic bag.
We grocery shopped at a nearby Alpha Beta. My brother and I would go to the store a few times a week as a favor to a homebound neighbor and she would pay us by letting us buy candy so we were more than eager to do her bidding. Probably the plastic bag was better suited for our jaunt down the alley and across the park. I didn’t mind. . .I was a kid then anyway. I was happy to have candy! There used to be a Kmart in the city we grew up in and whatever we bought there also came home in a plastic grocery-type bag. Even when I got my annual pile of hand-me-down-clothes, they were delivered to me in giant plastic trash bags. It’s what I knew. It’s who I was.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I noticed how the social class system was divided by bag-type. I’m sure it came from walking around the mall or some movie clip (likely Pretty Woman). I thought that it was somehow something to attain, like you had to earn SBB status. I then got married and started shopping for my own family and, reflecting on it now, I never forthrightly requested “paper” at the market (remember that season of time when it was “Paper or Plastic?”) and I didn’t ever ask because even then, when it didn’t make a difference, I KNEW that I was in the plastic division. Funny enough, I secretly hoped that the grocery bagger would just ask me because whenever HE asked ME…, I always chose paper. It’s comical now to think back at how I would hold my head a little higher bringing up the groceries in my SBB. But you know what? That was an important transition for me. I really didn’t think that I deserved to carry a SBB and I’m sure I would have been SUPER-uncomfortable if I didn’t have my paper-grocery-bag transition time.
Insecurity is a funny thing….
The problem I now have is not whether I can carry a SBB around, but that I can’t bring myself to throw them away! Admittedly, I am a bit of a hoarder and those are good bags to reuse! But deep down, I know that I can’t throw them out because my new identity is somehow wrapped up in them. Christmas is a really fun time for me and if you ever see me “struttin’ my stuff” around the mall just remember that I am still that poor little rich white Mexican fulfilling a childhood fantasy.
On a side note, I am happy to say that we ALWAYS (and I do mean ‘always’) issue our hand-me-down-clothes in Square Bottom Bags. (Why not?! I save them for just such an occasion!)