All too many days my journal pages are a wastebasket of stuff that tumbles out of my head. But the words count as writing, because there are days when I learn something just by writing. Yesterday the discovery was about my love of purses and tote bags. On Wednesday, while Duncan the Dog was getting his routine vet check, I whiled away an hour or so shopping. It’s not a good thing for me to do, but occasionally I resort to consumerism and buy something I don’t need. And believe me, I don’t need another bag. But this time, I told myself, I had really found the perfect specimen, a large, plain, tan leather-like tote with sturdy handles, a padded tablet sleeve and no frills. I don’t like frills on bags. The price was reasonable, especially for the perfect bag, found after years of debate, trial and expensive error.
As soon as I got home, dog ready to nap after his visit with the vet (who loves him without limits), I sorted my stuff and stuffed the new bag. Wow, I could now leave the house with one bag and still have easy access to my money, phone, notebook, pens, sunglasses, etc. I tucked in two folders of paperwork to take to a meeting and drove off, secure in the belief that I would have everything I could possibly need for the next four hours. And I did. Success!
Until I looked at the calendar for the next day and realized that I did not want to carry the big tote to the dentist, or to lunch and a museum tour with a friend. Nor would I want to carry it on Saturday to a poetry festival, although that option is still slightly open. Sigh–I pulled out one of many smaller purses, moved the bare essentials into it and left the big bag in my office. Why do I not settle on one bag and learn to travel light?
I blame Mom. As a kid I was often shuffled from house to house, staying with various relatives, close or distant, as her work schedule demanded. And rarely was I able to plan ahead or to pack for myself. So now, I realize, I feel uneasy about leaving home without my most precious possessions–a book, a good pen, writing tablet, money and those comfort items like cough drops and lip gloss and tissues. I had never understood this anxiety until I sat down to write about that big tote bag. Thank you, Ms. Muse, whoever you are. I hope you carry an authentic Prada bag in electric blue with real gold trim.