Six months ago, I subscribed to The New Yorker under the guise that it was for the political cartoons, the fresh commentary, and the outstanding humor. None of this is true. I do not read The New Yorker nor did I know they had cartoons until after I had subscribed. I did it to get the coveted New Yorker tote bag.
The white whale of beige accessories, The New Yorker tote bag is more than mere canvas. It means style and sophistication- it’s a physical representation of disposable income with the added bonus of being seemingly philanthropic about print journalism. It is everything and after entering my credit card details, it would be mine.
I hit subscribe and then immediately checked my mail. No tote bag.
A week later I met with my financial advisor and she said “Shand, I am not your financial advisor. I am your mother and honestly your bills are terrifying. You really need to cut back.” With that good news, I bought 15 Synergy Kombucha’s and went to work. But first, I dropped by my house to see if I had gotten any mail.
My first issue of The New Yorker had arrived. Its tote bag had not.
After three months with no bag, I decided to do more activities that a person with a New Yorker tote bag should be doing- in preparation for when that fateful day would come. I started shopping at Whole Foods and imagining myself picking out quinoa and garden veggies and at checkout passing over my tote bag and saying “Have you read the latest issue? That cartoonist really knows how to smear Trump,” while nodding toward The New Yorker emblem. It gave me such a high that I now go four times a week for the thrill.
I came home with $200 worth of black bean burritos and checked the mail.
No tote bag.
After 6 more months without a bag, I had completely prepared my life for my new addition. I would be the full-fledged adult that is worthy of the tote. I kept up my Whole Foods habit and I joined Soulcycle, Equinox, and Barre to cover my bases. I traded in my Chevy for a Prius and then traded the Prius for a Subaru and then traded in that hatchback for a newer Prius. I signed up to give $1,500 dollars a month to NPR. They gave me a mug.
Still, no New Yorker tote bag.
At work, my boss Bill told me he had to let me go because I hadn’t been coming in until after 4pm. He claimed that marking myself unavailable all day on my Google Calendar made me “an impossible employee.” He failed to see that I had to stay home until 4 which is when John, my mailman, delivers my mail (and someday soon, my New Yorker tote bag). I don’t mind that I was fired. Work was getting in the way of planning my trip to Tokyo with my New Yorker tote bag.
Which still hadn’t come.
On the one year anniversary of pressing ‘subscribe’ on The New Yorker’s website, I moved out of my house. It was too small for me anyway and many people told me I should move on. Specifically, the police when they told me I was being foreclosed on. I stored my Whole Foods foods, my new sushi making station, and my newly purchased oboe at my financial planner’s house. I then rented a small lot across from my measly old residence and told John to make all future deliveries of my New Yorker or my New Yorker tote bag to this lot.
A year and four months after I subscribed to The New Yorker, I am now living in the lot. I live in a shelter I built out of my old issues of The New Yorker. It works pretty well allowing that no rain, wind, or sun hits it. I’m writing all of this on the back of one of them with an old eyeliner pencil. I need the world, and specifically the people who work in customer relations at Condé Nast, to hear my plight.
I realize my mistake now. I chose the wrong path. I put my faith in The New Yorker and it didn’t put it’s faith in me. Maybe I should have subscribed to Time.
Wait. There’s something at the entrance of my structure. It’s wrapped in plastic. It’s plain canvas with black words on it.
It’s The New Yorker tote bag.