My Purse Curse

It’s a familiar scenario.  I’ve woken up, groggy and disoriented.  Slowly, I boot up, more slowly than my ancient laptop – wash, take my little assortment of morning pills, brush my teeth, put on makeup (with the vital assistance of the really big magnifying mirror), dress, undress, dress again, tweak outfit, put on earrings, take off earrings, choose another pair, settle on first earring selection after all, find a matched pair of shoes out of the footwear jungle that is my closet floor.  Where’s my purse?  It must be downstairs.  Oh, no, I don’t see it.  Back upstairs again.  Where is it?  Mild panic sets in.  I mean, my purse holds my life in its ample confines – my IDs, my credit cards, more credit cards, various rewards cards, my money, my glasses, my car keys, lipstick, hand sanitizer, pens, notebook, and on.   Where could it be?  Clean and finally dressed as I may be, I am lost, looking in every nook and cranny.  Oh, thank God, there it is, by the piano where I put it down to play a song last night before going to bed.  The chaos around me rights itself, my breathing becomes normal.

I think you can tell a lot about a woman by her purse.  I can’t tell you everything that I put in mine, but its heft is impressive; over the years of bearing the weight via a shoulder strap (often supplemented with various other bags), I can see a permanent groove in my right shoulder.  At times, I’ve tried to organize – putting everything neatly in place, clearing out old receipts, little pieces of trash, hard candy wrappers and the like, but it’s not long before the jumbled mess returns.  How did I get four of my husband’s handkerchiefs, all in various stages of use?  Need a receipt?  I won’t find it, but there’s that Schnuck’s receipt from 2006.  It amazes me that I can lose such large items such as key rings and my cell phone in the cavernous reaches of my bag.  That said, it gives me irrational comfort.  With it, I can face the world, I can function.  Without it, I am hamstrung, frozen.

The other day I was so proud of myself.  Not wanting to tote the monster, I transferred a few necessities into a small, compact “purselet” (nothing that small should have the full designation).  It was a thing of beauty, light as a feather and perfectly organized, and it threw the next day into chaos.  While my trusty purse was right in the corner, the tiny black bag and its key contents were not.  I embarked on a longer and more far-reaching search than normal, even retracing my previous day.  Finally I found it in the house.  I promptly stripped the usurper of its contents and short-lived “in use” status.  It now sits on that shelf in my closet that houses other abandoned accessories.  Forget tiny; I’m a big girl.

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