Paring Down

Ever since that Mother’s Day outing with my daughter, when I bought a new purse, “for travel,” I’ve been contemplating “the changing of purses.”  This is monumental for me.

Not unlike the proverbial “changing of the guard” at Buckingham Palace in London, it’s almost ceremonial for me, this change of hand bag.  I’ll explain.

Laugh all you want.  I can take it.

I’m not a hand bag collector like some women.  But I have about a dozen bags, hanging on the back of a closet door and a few more scattered inside bureaus or chest drawers.

Unlike our cats who prefer their canned food flavors alternated from one can to the next, I can eat the same meal for days in a row without blinking an eye.  I like what I like.

As to my purse, I’ve used the same one for over a decade.  It was a gift from my bestie and wowzah did she get it right.  It’s the perfect neutral color.  The capacity is vast, and it has pockets and pouches galore, notwithstanding its relatively small size.

I have received compliments by the hands full on this bag, from women and men, alike.  It must be kinda special.

By the way, do you call yours a purse?  Hand bag, or simply, bag?  Pocketbook, is a popular one in these parts.

I don’t change my purse to go with my outfits, or at the change of seasons.  I only switch out to a wrist-wallet if I have to run to the store for something needed “now.”

Given these facts, contemplating changing my purse is a major change for me.  It’s sort of a permanent change, given my predilection for “the same,” as outlined above.

This is all because of that new purse, “for travel.”  Since the preparation-phase of our uber-trip to Europe in 2008, I’ve learned to pack, light.  As to clothing, the rule is to bring a couple of basics in primary colors and vamp them up with prints that can be mixed and matched, topped off with some personal, statement-making accessories.

As to the travel handbag, it’s about lots of pockets in a concise package of a neutral color, for categorizing everything needed and nothing peripheral.  It’s almost akin to a filing system.

It’s tempting to carry one of those huge, cavernous tote-like bags that has massive space but few pockets, and weighs a ton.  I abandoned this idea with nightmarish visions of a customs agent screaming, “I need your passports and boarding passes now,” while I’m digging to China for the needed documents, and he/she is rushing us along a queue to the beyond.

In this scenario one can’t be fumbling around through makeup bags, a canister of extra strength Tylenol, a measuring tape, sun glasses case, reading glasses case, breath mints to satisfy an army of halitosis germs headed to the dentist, coupon case, tissues, nail clippers, tweezers, manicure and sewing kits, full key rings that a school janitor would envy, a wallet packed with a hundred cards, including store loyalty cards, department store cards, gas cards, pictures of the grand kids, insurance cards, emergency contact and “final wishes” cards, a couple dollars cash, and a coin purse.  No purse of this caliber is complete without wipes, a Tide-stick, antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer, perfume, lip balm or lip gloss, powder and some sort of hair brush or comb.  Oh, and your phone.

At second thought this is not a purse, it’s a portable office.  Were you a girl scout?  Prepared for every possible eventuality?

Or maybe you’re simply a mom or partner, at the ready to fix any mess your kids or partner might make, away from home.  Better yet, you’re a woman, an equipped woman, dressed for success or for battle, with your purse as your brief case, armor and shield.

Most husbands these days will wear a pink shirt and are happy to hold their wives’ purse while they are otherwise engaged.  They know this thing holds the lifeblood of their unit.  It’s not just a purse.

So, you get why I haven’t changed my purse yet.  It’s because it’s loaded, not just literally. 

You’ve heard, “there’s meaning to my madness?”  I intend to pare down, in the purse department. 

First comes the thought, right?  I’ll do it because it’s time, but like Scarlett O’Hara said, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day.”

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