an unexpected new assistant

estimated 3 min read

I found a new assistant a few months ago. At the time I never expected how essential it would become as my constant companion.

I initially made this choice to solve a specific problem I experience.

Not all of my clothing has pockets.

Yes, I have a sewing machine. However, there are functional and practical considerations that keep me from adding pockets to everything.

Proportionately, a pocket that could hold what I deem as my essentials (phone, ID+cards/cash) isn’t comfortable for me to wear. I generally need to empty my pockets when driving, so the stuff has to go somewhere and stay organized.

While I adore my little swift, it sometimes feels too big for a run to the humane society and feels silly at the hardware store. I didn’t think I was going to replace my every day bag, but I was open to possibilities. My needs have changed. Most of the time I work at home and I run out for quick errands here and there. When I spend a few hours at the library or a coffee shop I often have enough extras I end up bringing my copilot anyway.

Side Kick at Bow Lake, Banff National ParkAfter excessive deliberation, I chose a Side Kick. The decision was to err on too large instead of the possibility of too small. I wanted to be able to have my A5 notebook with me if I needed. I tried a Small Cafe bag years ago, but the format didn’t work for me. I took it for a trial run to Banff National Park, not anticipating (who could?!) what was about to happen at home and how my life would change.

Three things I love about the Side Kick

  • Size. While it is big, it holds both my logbook and tablet with ease.
  • Organization. I haven’t had internal organizing pockets in a long time. I’m surprised how much I love them.
  • Cross body. Sometimes the little swift jumps off my shoulder. The cross body is amazing when I need both hands free.

It proved priceless as I deal with all of my mother’s needs throughout July, August, and September. I didn’t have time for more than my notebook full of information about her medications and appointments. Knowing where my phone and keys were and being able to spot quickly if something was missing proved invaluable especially when I was short on sleep and extra stressed. Being able to sling the bag across my back as I focused on the management of oxygen tanks and a walker and a fragile yet healing parent was key to helping me get through that difficult time.

Tom Bihn Side Kick, inside

Tom Bihn Side Kick, keys!

A few weeks ago I tried to switch back to my little swift. After a day of feeling odd, I returned to this new assistant. While my house and days are starting to return to a new normal (and my mother adjusts to her new abode, a local assisted living facility), in time I expect my bag needs will evolve again. Perhaps soon I’ll return to the little swift, or maybe I’ll look into a different Tom Bihn bag. Time will tell.

Tom Bihn Side Kick, detail