Today I looked for my Osprey Aether 58 backpack in its storage place in my garage. (“58” refers to the total internal volume in liters but you can always strap additional gear to the outside. I’m hoping to do some winter backpacking in Joshua Tree National Park (nothing very demanding) and the 58 is the perfect size for fair weather packing over a weekend.

It isn’t there. It is buried in a corner under other stuff.

The first think I notice is the top just falls off. Closer examination looks like the straps have been cut. I’m starting to work a bit of anger up now, as the last person to use the pack was my house sitter who said he “borrowed” it to carry a folding chair (also borrowed) when he went to visit his father’s grave. I check closer and the webbing is so fragile a light tug just tears it apart. I’m still angry at him for not asking for permission and again for not telling me it fell apart on him. I am also a little ticked off he just tossed into a corner of the garage without hanging it back up where he got it.

Now, I am also angry at Osprey. A gently used backpack should last for decades. Nylon webbing should last beyond my remaining lifetime. A backpack without straps to attach things and hold it together is just a duffle bag. I sent a message to customer service but I am not optimistic.

Then it hits me. I am overwhelmed with emotion. All I can do is weep. “Friends” who have no respect for my property and do not ask permission, then neither take care of it nor inform me of a problem when they “borrow” it. And then a piece of equipment that was billed as high quality and cost a lot of money (by my standards admittedly) just fails because of cheap cheap cheap. It is just one more thing to fail in my life that can’t be recovered. The money to replace it isn’t there and that’s another thing I can’t recover. There are so many things in my life that have failed in a nonrecoverable fashion. It felt like bumping down another step in the staircase of life and there is no climbing back up.

Not that a backpack is such a critical thing in life but it came to symbolize everything I’ve lost and everything I’m going to lose. Right now life does not look good and it is a fact that it can only get worse. A good crying jag is the only thing to be done for it.