Earlier this week, the elderly zipper on my backpack finally gave out. I tried to fix it, hoping that I could still enjoy the companionship of the backpack that had been with me since high school and all through college, but my efforts were in vain. I was very sad to give up on my backpack. It was one of the few things I took with me my first year of college and it accompanied me to all of my classes, my meetings with professors, my inkblot testing, and my flute practicing. In high school it withstood my abuse (textbooks, lunch, and a flute) and came with me on the bus every day, offering its padded back as a pillow when I came home late from pep band. This backpack accompanied me to flute camp and trips to Utah and then my trips back to California. It even came on the honeymoon. As I give up on this backpack, I feel as if I am leaving behind my adolescence and all the wannabe independence it stood for.
I called up REI in Salt Lake, which has a repair shop. They said they could repair the zipper at a small cost. I considered this, but another zipper is coming undone and I think it is time to just get another backpack and consign this one to 72-hour-kitdom. REI does not really make backpacks for bookpacking anymore. This too was disappointing. I felt like REI had betrayed me. I understand that they are an outdoor store and that they want to focus on that, but there was nothing wrong with this backpack design. Why did they stop making it? Can any other backpack really compare? After much research, I ordered The North Face Jester backpack, but I don't think it will be the same. It won't be green. It won't have the chewed-up strapling where my inexpert vacuuming manifested itself. It won't have the keyring where my space camp keychain lost itself. Maybe I really should just have REI repair it. :-(