I carry a Coach purse and I love it. I’m ridiculously proud of it and I walk with it front and center, to the point where it looks as if I am hiding an unwanted pregnancy; I tend to show it off when I walk into upscale grocery stores, not that I ever really walk into upscale grocery stores, but if I did, I would proudly show off my Coach bag. I take it into the local IGA and the cashier doesn’t notice its glory, but I flaunt it just the same. Eight years ago, I knew nothing about Coach handbags. That is, until my sister-in-law started working for Coach, then I started getting a bag every Christmas. Now I loves me some Coach.
Sure, I carried purses before my love affair started. Even now, I carry “normal” purses to “normal” places. They’re sad looking bags with no satin lining or tell-all leather signature tag. I rationalize this by thinking that I don’t want to get my good bags dirty. You don’t wear an evening gown to the post office, right? Even Emily, my daughter, occasionally puts down the plush upscale “Webkinz” stuffed animals to play with the old, “carnie” stuffed turtle she got when the dart somehow managed to find the balloon. She feels bad for it if she ignores it for too long. “It gets jealous of all my other friends,” she whispers. I too feel bad for my discount pink faux-leather bag I got at Walgreens. I drag it out on occasion for pity’s sake.
There is an exception here, however. There is one bag I keep out of rotation. It is hidden WAY back in my closet. I never bring it out for fear Emily will see it. A few years ago, TV was inundated with commercials for a Buxton bag, no, not a bag – they called it an organizer. It was a thin, pleather thing with an over-the-shoulder strap so you could wear the bag on your hip. There was a big, wide strap cutting across on an angle, like some military sash gone horribly, horribly wrong. The “amazing” part about this bag, which they stated over and over again in the commercial, was that it could actually get bigger as you needed, due to the hidden zippers. At one point, it actually showed a woman (wearing a blindfold for some reason which escaped me) putting 6 bottles of water into that ugly, little bag.
Emily was 4 at the time and fairly impressionable, so that spring for Mother’s Day, I received the Buxton Organizer. I didn’t see it coming. As I opened the present, it was all I could do not to exclaim to my husband, Kriner, “What the hell? Why did you let her do this?” but I kept it together and smiled and did my best to love it. Every time I left the house, Em would ask, “Why don’t you take your Buxton Organizer?” “Momma, you should really take your Buxton Organizer.” I tried for a while telling her, “No, it’s too nice; I want to save it!” but she eventually saw through that. Then we went to Disney and she cornered me. “Momma, you have to take your Buxton Organizer to Disney. We may need water!”
The problem with purses for me is that with every passing year, the purse tends to get bigger. In my 20’s, I carried a little, cute clutch; now it seems, I have a bag five times the size of my head. I hate having a big purse, I do, but I can’t seem to stop myself. At this rate, I will be dragging around a plastic lawn bag when I hit my 60‘s.
Every year I try to “downsize” but it’s pointless; there’s always way too much stupid crap I think I need; that by shoving all my useless stuff into a smaller purse will somehow make it easier, but no. It just means I can’t close the zipper. In my home, I will ardently throw something out if I don’t use it within a calendar year; I’m GREAT at purging stuff in my house, but with the guts of my purse, I’m a hoarder. I have gum from 1976.
Normally, I have to take out 70% of the useless crap that is in my purse in order to find what I am looking for, which is always 1 of 3 things: my phone, my planner or my wallet. That’s really all I ever use in my purse, so why then do I need a bag the size of Rhode Island?
At this very moment, this is the content of my very large purse:
-1 wallet from Harrods full of singles (Note – I’ve never been to Harrod’s but my girlfriend Solveig has and she got me a wallet. I love it because sometimes people see it and I assume they assume I’ve been to Harrods. “Ha” on them.)
-2 packets of Trident whitening gum, preferably wintergreen, although it’s hard to find. I chew gum a lot, for many reasons. Mainly, because it occupies my mouth so I don’t drive myself crazy talking to myself in the car. “God, I’m so annoying!” I think to myself. “Yeah, I know, I wish I would just shut up!” “Come on me, I’m being too hard on me – I like some of the stories I tell.” “Who asked you?” The other reason is that I am also paranoid my breath will be bad and my students will make fun of me while I’m not around, not that they don’t have many other things to use as fodder. Back to the list…
-1 big pair of sunglasses. (Also, a gift from Solvieg.) As my purse gets bigger as I age, so do my sunglasses. The big purse helps to hide the big hips, the big sunglasses helps to hide the big crow’s feet.
-A roll of duct tape
-A package of “Gushers” for emergencies
-Cell phone (yawn)
-Check book that is woefully out of date; I think it was balanced once in the 80‘s.
-3 bottles of hand sanitizer
-A day planner that is also woefully of out date
-1 bottle of “I’m Not a Waitress” IPA nail polish
-1 small laminated Bill of Rights; you never know when you need to pull it out to make a point
-A roll of “My Little Pony” stickers (also for obvious reasons)
-Tic Tacs that have spilled out of the box, so they are rolling around with the loose change, and taking on a gray hue rather than their zippy green color
-Expired children’s medicine
-A smushed Cliff bar (What if I got stuck in a snow storm?)
-A Star Wars trading card of Admiral Ackbar (also for obvious reasons)
-A CD of the “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” soundtrack (Broadway version – FABULOUS)
-A bright pink scarf that was a gift (also from Solvieg, did I mention she’s an awesome friend?)
-A digital voice recorder (because I get inspired writing ideas while I’m driving)
-A pair of earrings
-23 travel sized lotion bottles from various hotels
-1 Vince Lombardi doll (for luck)
-A smaller purse, in case I need to “downsize” at a moment’s notice
-Way too many keys
-1,524 lipsticks and/or glosses
-1 pack of “Airborne” that is over a year old and never opened. (Just in case I am on a plane next to someone who sneezes…)
-A flip recorder full of videos of my daughter’s made up commercials and “man on the street” interviews
-A princess furry pen that lights up (makes a statement in the bank)
-3 Littlest Pet Shop Toys (a cat, a fish and a beaver)
-1 quarter, 1 dime and 1,524 pennies
That’s it. That is the contents of my very large purse. I was digging for something (probably my phone, my planner or my keys) and swearing like a sailor, when Kriner stated, “It must be sad to be a little purse woman trapped in a big purse woman body” I told him it really was.