My carry-on travel bag features an exterior side pocket that I almost never use. Too insecure for important documents, too flimsy for mobile devices, too small for a book, the pocket has no discernible purpose. It seems like an afterthought the designer stitched on after discovering a sliver of fabric remaining on their workbench.
I do recall slipping a pair of expensive sunglasses into the pocket when boarding a flight, which were subsequently cracked in half when I accidentally stepped on them clambering back into my seat after visiting the bathroom. And I once stuffed a granola bar in the pocket, apparently, although I have no recollection of that action or purchasing the granola bar. In fact, the only reason I know about the granola bar is that I've just found it in there.
God knows how long it's been lurking in such secret seclusion. Did I buy it when we went to Italy last year? Or London the year before that? Vegas for work? New Mexico? Spain? The incident with the sunglasses was six years ago, so at least I can be sure the granola bar is no older than that.Fortunately, it was in good shape, too, with no signs of bulbous, fuzzy fungus straining to break through the still intact wrapper. So a Hazmat suit and robotic pincer arms were not required to remove it from the bag. Such are the advantages of artificial nourishment.
I often find amounts of paper money in my trouser pockets when sorting laundry but this is the first time I've come across food, and I have to say its discovery is nowhere near as exciting as pulling out a handful of surprise cash. I guess I'd feel differently if I were hungry, stranded in a deserted airport in the middle of the night. After all, such a desperate contingency is the only reason I can imagine for buying a granola bar, especially one that is yogurt coated.
Which means I must have been paranoid at the moment of acquisition, which means I must have been flying US Air, which means I was on my way to New Mexico, which means the granola bar is approximately three years old and has traveled to four different countries as a stowaway in my luggage. Which means I'm starting to feel closer to the granola bar than I did at first, almost as if it's a faithful companion, a bosom buddy with whom to share our timeless memories of thrilling adventures in distant lands. Good old granola bar, my chewy St Christopher.
And so I drop the granola bar back into the side pocket of my carry-on travel bag, the pocket that I always use even if I was unaware of such utility until today. The plan is Florida in May, then Portugal in September. Perhaps we'll take a selfie in Sintra. Unless, of course, there's some new draconian TSA law against transporting out-of-date snacks across international borders. You never know these days.