Friday, September 14, 2007

Inside Pockets

My London Fog raincoat has served me well for several years. Although long coats are not fashionable at the moment, I still feel elegant when I travel in this ankle-length, egg-plant colored, classic coat (especially when I wear matching pants and sweater underneath!) But, alas, the coat is getting old. It was dirty and some seams had begun to open up. So I mended and washed it. When I pulled the coat out of the washer to hang it dry, I was surprised to see a little pouch sticking out of the front placket. An inside pocket! I'd never known it was there, and I thought of all the times I could have used it for airline tickets, passport, hotel key card and the like --- times when I needed both security and quick access.

Then I remembered Bakk-Fikkan. We had been living for a few weeks at the Swedish research institute where my husband was working before I realized that another wife was also living on the campus. She and her husband were in Bakk-Fikkan, or "back pocket" in Swedish, a studio apartment hidden in the corner of a larger house.

We refer to pocket parks and pocket gardens, small hidden green spaces encountered unexpectedly in the midst of densely built-up areas. We have pocket dictionaries, pocket guides, pocket handkerchiefs, and pocket combs; they are all small enough to slip easily into a pocket. I don't like to buy pants unless they have a pocket (even though it makes me look more "puffy", as my grandson would say.)

In general a pocket is a small, self-contained space, often hidden. It can enclose something positive, like the examples above, or something negative, like a pocket of resistance, or a pocket of infection. Sometimes we discover dark pockets in a friend's personality.

I usually see the big picture first. Now I also look for pockets, and am surprised and usually delighted by the small treasures they hide.


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