The backpack effect

I have a peculiar hobby: I like observing people, like at the shopping mall, at work, at Starbucks (especially at Starbucks!), or at the bus stop. Their facial expression while reading something on their phones, their makeup or hairdo and how it changes when it's raining, the socks-necktie combo for the day, and so on. Without even realising it I am creating a whole life story based on those few characteristics, and because of the added creative component it's always interesting and it never ceases to amaze and amuse me. 

backpack effect

For example, the other day I saw this woman in the city at around 5pm, she was pretty tall even without heels, she was wearing formal shoes anyway, a pencil skirt, a colourful scarf around her neck that made her suit jacket look more casual, and a blunt haircut like the popular girls have nowadays. Let's take a moment to notice how I said words such as "popular girls" and "nowadays" as if I wasn't part of the category. Don't be fooled by my Harry Potter badge lanyard, I am totally cool. 

Back to the lady, in a few words she looked like she had all her shit together: an office job, a trendy haircut, and no cheap accessories. I'm pretty sure she was carrying a planner and an expensive pen in her handbag, and something else grown-ups use, like business cards in a proper card-holder thing, and a grocery list with a folded eco bag because she cares, also because the thin ones you get from the supermarket are pretty useless, or she didn't want to carry too many bags in one go, including her handbag. Wait a second, handbag? 

In my daydream about her life and habits I forgot to check out her bag game. In that precise moment she stood up from the bench and put on, with a little jump to settle it, a backpack! 

Not a black Lookbook backpack carried on one shoulder that says "I saw this on a Facebook advertisement and I signed up for the 20% discount for new buyers. #Totes adorbs". Not a smart casual one in beige leather that says "Hello, I'm Italian and I look awesome paired with black sunglasses and a sultry look even on holiday". 


She was wearing a sporty one with orange zippers and net pockets on the sides, that says "I own more jogging shoes than shirts and I love the outdoors. Let's go hiking this weekend"! The whole life I created for her in my mind was gone within seconds. 

And then I saw them, all over the city, business people wearing suits and shiny shoes and carrying backpacks tight on their backs. I'm talking proper shoulder level, hanging their hands to the shoulder straps while looking as far as possible to spot their bus. Little first grade grown-ups with a lunch box and neat handwriting. The kind that always have their homework done regularly and that are sitting on the front seats of the bus. The kind that bring an apple to eat during their break and that don't hang out in the smoking area. 

Girls! Empty your skincare cabinet, the real youth miracle is on your shoulders: The Backpack Effect.

Image: via

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