Friday, July 23, 2010

Adventures in Purseland

The other night, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was forced to go purse shopping. I was getting out of the car to go meet my critique group and the strap on my purse broke. Now, I'd had that purse for about eight years, and it's not like I was madly in love with it or anything. In fact, I'd been toying with the idea of getting a larger one so I could carry a notebook with me for when inspiration strikes on the bulk food aisle, because we all know how inspirational bulk food can be. But I'm the kind of person who tends to wait until there's an actual need before I'll buy something ... unless we're talking about scrapbook paper or ballet flats ... but that's a blog for another day.

So. Where was I? Oh, yeah. The strap broke.

After critique, I went over to Walmart, the nearest retailer, and began to inspect the selection. The very, very limited selection. I need a purse I can sling crossways around my body - when I go shopping, I have to hold the hands of two of my children as we cross the parking lot, and so carrying a purse with handles doesn't work for me. Plus, my mom's purse was stolen right out of her hand once, in a Utah grocery store parking lot, so it stands to reason that I should never have a purse with handles, right? Well, it makes sense to me.

There were three kinds of purses to choose from. 1 - the kind with handles. No go. 2 - purses you could sling across your body, but were even smaller than the purse that broke. 3 - denim hobo bags.

I went with the denim hobo bag.

It's not the most elegant purse in the world. If I get called to go have dinner at the governor's mansion or at a Hollywood producer's house, I'd need to stop off somewhere and pick up another purse more suited to the occasion. But it's big enough, it holds a notebook (hooray!) and I can sling it across my body (take that, opportunistic purse grabbers!)

So then came phase two - moving things into the new purse.

I've moved a lot in my life, and one of the things I've always enjoyed is unpacking and deciding where things should go in the new digs. Of course, then you have to remember where you put what. It's the same thing with a purse. Should the pens go in the front pocket, or the back? Does the calculator want to go here or there? As I sorted through my purse's contents and made these crucial decisions, I paused and wondered at some of the things I found in my purse ... and some of the things I did not find. Who but a mother can purchase four packs of gum every time she goes to the grocery store, and yet never have a single piece on hand when she reaches for one?

But I digress.

I found pens that were great for critique group but not so much for signing checks. I found two tubes of lipstick, which would be great under ordinary circumstances, but it turns out they were the same shade, and so that's not altogether helpful. I found a sucker stick and wrapper ... oh, yeah. Five-year-old handed them to me when he couldn't find a trash. At least he's not a litterbug. I found no Band-Aids, which really are a staple in a mommy's purse, and I found no cash. Yes, I do have to use my debit card to buy a .99 item.

My new purse is now ready to go. I have a half-size notebook in there, along with pens in many different shades, and I replenished the Band-Aid stash. I have some suckers in there, for those emergency moments or instant rewards. I have one tube of lipstick and one of lip balm. I need to replenish my Ibuprofen, and there's still no cash ... oh, well.

I think it's interesting to take a closer look at what we choose to carry around with us all the time. Some things make perfect sense - like the Band-Aids or fingernail clippers. Other things make no sense to anyone but us, and that's okay. We're the only ones who really know what we need to have with us at all times. And I think being mysterious is fun.


Framed said...

I can't believe you had a purse that lasted eight years. Where did you buy that one? I once heard an author speak about journaling and she talked about making a periodic list of what's in your purse. She also suggested listing what's in the fridge, but that's too gross for me. My purse list might be too long for one journal entry but I may try it.

Jolene said...

I sort of have an addiction to bags so since I can't fully sympathize with your need to purchase one. I did just switch my things from one purse to another and found the craziest stuff. Guess that's what happens when you're toting children everywhere you go.

Sandra said...

I bought a purse that was like a hobo bag and I could never find stuff in there because it all got jumbled together. I went and bought 2 smallish makeup bags that matched and put them inside to hold my wallet and check book and the other one holds my parfume, pain meds, fingernail clippers, camera... you get the idea. then the pockets have the pens/phone/other can't leave home without them type things. Because who knows? Some day I just may need that kitchen sink! It really makes changing purses fast and easy- just pull the small bags out, pop them in the new purse, and off we go.

And I sympathize with the purchasing of a new purse. they are never the right size, color, handle length. My kids say I should start designing purses and selling them under the name of Goldilocks- Just right purses. ;)

kbrebes said...

I agree that WalMart's selection has steadily declined over the last eighteen months. Target's selection, however, has increased--and to the point where they have padded laptop bags/purses!

Dapoppins said...

I want to be the person who always has everything "needed" in her mom purse, but even when I have all that, I can't seem to find it, and my purse is fairly small.

A purse says a lot about a woman, fashionable or functional or both, expensive or thrifty or thrify fashion...old and worn or new and shiny..

I carry a little leatherish back back, hands free!

Tamara said...

I carried a pocket size copy of the US Constitution in my purse for five years after my high school poly sci teacher gave them to us and made us take an oath that we would keep it with us at all times. I think it was just supposed to be until the end of the school year, but I don't know, the nerd that I am - I felt oddly comfortable knowing I could pull out the constitution anytime and settle disputes. Not there ever were any.

Hilarious post. Thanks for sharing.

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