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heavy, empty

One of my students at the jail was talking about all the stuff she's dealing with, and how alone she feels and what hard going it is.

"I'm carrying around so much luggage with nothing in it," she said.

That hit me instantly. So much crap to lug around, and all the bags are empty.

"That's really poetic," I said. "It says a lot."

She gave me a smile and a seriously? look and said, "You know that's just a phrase, right? A thing people say when they're high: You're tripping without no luggage."

"Hah! No, I didn't know that. I thought it was totally new with you."

But a little later I realized--should have realized in the moment--that was new with her. The thing everyone says, Tripping without no luggage, is clever, but she's turned it on its head: burdened with luggage with nothing in it.


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 14th, 2015 08:45 pm (UTC)
That is a beautifully poetic turn of phrase. I know that fultilely-heavy feeling all too well.
Sep. 15th, 2015 12:33 pm (UTC)
Me too! But I've always thought of it as being burdened down by meaningless things--to put it in terms of being burdened by emptiness--that was, wow.
Sep. 14th, 2015 08:58 pm (UTC)
but she's turned it on its head: burdened with luggage with nothing in it.

You can tell her the next time you see her. It is a good and a resonant phrase.
Sep. 15th, 2015 12:34 pm (UTC)
I will. She's someone whose situation is precarious even within a group of people whose situation is precarious. I'm never sure when I'm going to get to see her. But when I do.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 15th, 2015 12:34 pm (UTC)
Sep. 14th, 2015 11:29 pm (UTC)
So fitting and it clearly stays with you.
Sep. 15th, 2015 12:34 pm (UTC)
It really does: I told two people about it in person and still wanted to post it here.
Sep. 15th, 2015 12:29 am (UTC)
In my son's fifth grade classroom: "Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal. - T.S. Elio"
Sep. 15th, 2015 12:36 pm (UTC)
Hee--does it really say T.S. Elio? If it was meant to say "Eliot," then it's a truth I appreciate, but if it says "Elio" it's true and also funny.
(no subject) - amaebi - Sep. 15th, 2015 12:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Sep. 15th, 2015 02:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amaebi - Sep. 15th, 2015 02:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 15th, 2015 12:47 am (UTC)
She is so right--I think her version has far more resonance.
Sep. 15th, 2015 02:16 pm (UTC)
And she just spontaneously said it--not trying to be clever or profound, it just came out.
Sep. 15th, 2015 01:23 am (UTC)
Her version definitely inverts the phrase, and wow, it is poetic and resonant. I know that feeling exactly.
Sep. 15th, 2015 02:17 pm (UTC)
Me too. It's a real case of someone articulating something perfectly that you've never been able to express well before.
Sep. 15th, 2015 03:52 am (UTC)
It's sharp, effective language all right! :)
Sep. 15th, 2015 02:19 pm (UTC)
Yes--she was unburdening herself, and I only hope she got solace and relief from doing so to the same degree that I was enriched by her sharing.
Sep. 15th, 2015 08:18 am (UTC)
As sovay said, you can tell her next time you see her. :)

And I agree with sartorias that the lady's version is more resonant. The original is funny, and a bit obvious once you've heard the expression, but her version conveys so much. Emptiness is very heavy.

Edited at 2015-09-15 08:18 am (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2015 02:20 pm (UTC)
Emptiness is very heavy.

YES. But I wouldn't have thought to say it until she did.
(no subject) - mnfaure - Sep. 15th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 15th, 2015 08:52 am (UTC)
I think that's a nice metaphor for a futile and self-inflicted burden.
Sep. 15th, 2015 02:22 pm (UTC)
That too, definitely.
Sep. 15th, 2015 09:26 am (UTC)
That's perfect. Her version is perfect.
Sep. 15th, 2015 02:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I thought so.
Sep. 15th, 2015 11:38 am (UTC)
Plus, when you use a phrase -- common or not -- with your own particular feeling in your own particular circumstance, then it is new minted.
Sep. 15th, 2015 02:23 pm (UTC)
That's true too!
Sep. 15th, 2015 03:04 pm (UTC)
burdened with luggage with nothing in it.
That is great. A book title with yet to be written fascinating content.
Sep. 15th, 2015 04:38 pm (UTC)
Maybe a book with an ornate cover and blank pages?
(no subject) - oiktirmos - Sep. 15th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 17th, 2015 04:22 am (UTC)
Good-for-nothing burdens tossed in an old leather satchel.
"What do you have in there, lass? Pipes and the kitchen sink? This satchel, it's way too heavy for you to carry."
"Just the odds and ends of a dead street, pieces of cement and and bricks and old scraps of metal."
"Toss them away, girl, before it's too late."
"I will. But if I don't have anything to replace it, I'll feel so lonely with an empty satchel."
"Put in freedom and a dose of love and a hug. That's all the weight you need to carry."
Sep. 17th, 2015 11:21 am (UTC)
Oh man. Yes.

Can I share it with her if I have a chance?
(no subject) - scallywag195 - Sep. 17th, 2015 08:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 17th, 2015 07:18 am (UTC)
The great thing, when someone says something new and utterly true, is that when people hear it, it seems so incredibly familiar. Burdened with luggage with nothing in it - I know that feeling so well.
Sep. 17th, 2015 11:22 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's like they turn on a sense you never had, or reveal a memory of something you'd forgotten.
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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