No, pardon me, sir.

An open letter to the gentleman with the giant backpack.

Good morning, traveler! Well, I’m assuming you’re a traveler based on the over-sized backpack you have strapped to your back. Sherpas around the globe would be impressed, sir. But as your Jansport jostles me for the fifth time, I can’t help but wonder where you’re heading today. The Himalayas perhaps? Or maybe Sub-Saharan Africa? I hear it’s nice this time of year. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I know nothing about Sub-Saharan Africa, so my thoughts on the weather there should be disregarded.) Wherever your journey takes you, I wish you long days and pleasant nights.

I’m kidding, of course. You’re no world traveler. You’re a commuter like the rest of us (the khakis, branded polo and security badge gave you away). But that knowledge only perplexes me further.

If you aren’t departing for a four-week excursion deep into the heart of some jungle, what’s with the bag, bro? Before you answer, can you kindly turn 45 degrees to your left. One of the 80 straps on the oversized ottoman you’re wearing has been slapping a nice young women in the face for 15 minutes. She’s too polite to say anything. There we go, thanks.

Anyway, back to the bag. Is it filled with donations for the Salvation Army? Canned goods for a food drive? Teddy bears for the children’s hospital? Blankets for the homeless? If so, you may carry on (puns are fun). I am sorry to have bothered you.

But, we know what’s really in that shoulder suitcase, don’t we? When I say “we,” I mean your fellow passengers. We know because you keep HITTING US WITH IT.

Whack! Hmm, sharp edges. Laptop? Wham! Oh, that had some heft to it. Mini-fridge? Bang! That one was easy — the over-sized metal (why is it always metal??) water bottle you have strapped to the side of your colossal carry-on.

Your bag is like a bull in a china shop, except the bull would occasionally apologize for being too big to be in such a tiny space with so many fragile objects. You, on the other hand, remain blissfully unaware of the carnage you and your deadly duffel are causing. Two stops ago, you turned to look out the window and knocked an older gentleman through the opening doors. You didn’t even look up from your kindle as he went tumbling into the abyss. Another notch for your belt, I guess.

I think I speak for everyone when I say this needs to stop. This is not a train to the Appalachian Trail. If that was the case, a little bag banging would be tolerated, even welcomed. Instead, we’re crammed together on this uncomfortably hot train, breathing out of our mouths and trying to pretend we’re anywhere else. Every time your back blimp hits us, we’re slapped back into this sucky reality.

So, do all of us a favor. Until you exit the train…



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