Delusions of a Packhorse

Do you think that you have a superpower?   I do.  It’s not amazing: I can’t shoot fireballs from my hands, or turn invisible, but I believe that I can carry anything I can lift.  I’ve never really comprehended that lifting is different than carrying.  If I can lift something off the ground how much harder could walking with it be?  Yesterday I decided that I could travel across Tokyo with a suitcase, a grip, and my hand luggage.  In total they weighed just over 40 kilograms (88 pounds; 6 stone 4).

Now you may be reading this and thinking, “I could easily carry that”.  But I’m just under 5 foot 2, female, and not a weight lifter.  Of course I also thought that I could carry it, though it would be a stretch to say that I thought I could carry it easily.  I know that I can lift a suitcase that weighs up to 23 kilograms in one hand and I know that I can carry my hand luggage along with that.  How hard could it be to add an extra bag?

My delusions concerning carrying things started when I was a small child helping my Dad with his pigeon baskets. I have no idea how heavy a basket full of pigeons is, but I remember that it was tiring carrying those baskets from our house to my grandfather’s house.  But I also remember how pleased I was when the task was finished and the pride I felt because I’d been able to do it.

This continued throughout my childhood with superhuman feats of carrying things to and from school.  I didn’t live that close to school (google maps shows me that it was a mile away) and I always had too much stuff.  I can still remember walking home from school during a snow storm.  I was carrying my guitar, clarinet, school bag, and gym bag.  I didn’t have a spare hand to brush the snow away so I arrived home looking like a snowman as the snow clung to the wool of my duffel coat.  But I did manage to make it home.

I was very glad that it wasn’t snowing yesterday.  It was a bit warm, but I took my time with the luggage.  I still arrived home ready to collapse in a heap.  The problem though, and this is always the problem, is that I did succeed in getting the bags home.  Do you think that next time I’ll remember that it left me tired and sore?  Do you think I’ll remember the bruises from almost knocking myself over as I lifted the awkward shaped things onto the train?  No, I’ll just remember that I was successful.

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