I upended my purse the other day, after a lunch companion exclaimed over the sheer weight of my everyday satchel. What spilled across my kitchen table was the narrative of my life, and suggested that the nagging pain in my neck had as much to do with the weight I had been carrying as it did with the type of things going on.
My purse held not forty items, but forty categories of items. We are not talking about a huge hobo bag here, either. Just a simple, two handled structured bag of medium dimensions. Were a man to think about why a woman carries a handbag (and I’m not saying he ever does, but bear with me), I suppose the answer would be, “to carry the things a guy would stuff in his pockets.” Let me add this response to the list of things men do not know about women. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A purse is a storage system. I have lost count of the times my husband, my kids, or my girlfriends have asked me whether I might be carrying hand lotion, band aids, gum, breath mints, tissues, chap stick, hair ties or bobby pins. So I carry them all. A wallet always lives in a purse, but between credit cards, travel documents, and checks, I carry three.
Pens multiply in handbags, as do lipsticks. There is nothing more frustrating than needing these things, and not being able to find them. Pawing through a mass of receipts to reach the bag’s bottom often results in nail issues, so of course I carry glue and a file. Assorted eyeglasses, ear buds, golf detritus, and a set of rabies tags keep company with a brush, an inhaler, post-it notes, and three wrapped cookies.
I also discovered a year-old article on The Perils of Giving Advice in my bag, and a game piece from Risk. That relationship made me smile.