An SF experiment: leaving my bag behind

Posted on
Jun 23, 2011
Posted in: Random Musings

I’ve decided that the world can be summed up thusly:

I have always fallen, since a tender young age, into the category of people who carry bags. I generally can’t leave the house without lugging an enormous purse with me, hanging awkwardly from my hip and lower back like a conjoined twin that my body had failed to reabsorb in the womb.

Please ignore whatever the hell it is I'm wearing, and instead pay attention to my purse, which is the size of a third-grader.

And for the longest time, I could see no downside to this. On an average day searching through my bag would yield toiletries, a first aid kit, snacks, an assortment of candies, a water bottle, glasses (both reading and sun-), a scarf, my wallet, keys, and phone. Other contents of my purse have included, at one time or another: three frozen lobster tails; a pound of butter; a dozen live crickets; an entire Italian wine salami; a full-sized bottle of shampoo. I was prepared for every eventuality, from impromptu potluck to a group hair-washing party (note to self: combine these two ideas for your next birthday).

And then my back started to hurt.

I suppose it was simply a matter of time. You can’t carry around the entire inventory of a Costco and not expect some negative consequence. The last few weeks have been particularly bad, and I decided it was time to ween myself off the enormous leather teats that I’ve suckled on for so long (that analogy was terrible. I am sorry); so I ventured into the city of San Francisco without my purse. There are few pictures to document the experience, since I left my camera back at the hotel. But here’s a minute-by-minute of account of my findings.

3:32 pm: Leave hotel. Have the weirdest feeling I’ve forgotten something.

3:33 pm: You did forget something. You forgot everything. ON PURPOSE.

3:34 pm: Frantically check pockets for what I did bring. Cell phone, I.D., hotel room key, debit card. Take a few deep breaths. It’s fine. Really. Continue walking.

3:36 pm: Heading down towards Market street. Convinced I look crazy. The twitching and phantom purse adjustments add to this impression. On the plus side, I seem to fit in.

3:40 pm: Noticed that people have stopped asking me for spare change. Interesting.

3:44 pm: Begin to panic, wondering what will happen if I am hit by a car and end up in the hospital. Will Rand be unable to identify me? “That can’t be her … my wife carries a handbag.” Consider writing my name on my arm in permanent marker so they’ll know who I am. Realize that I left my permanent marker in my purse.

3:48 pm: Dear god, it’s bright. I’m putting on my sunglasses. Let me just reach into my bag and … oh, god.

3:49 pm: Did I just try to reach into a bag that I don’t have? I did. I just tried to reach into empty space near my left hip. Did anyone see that?

3:50 pm: Yup, that guy did. And he thinks I’m insane.

3:51 pm: It’s cool. Just pretend it was a dance move. Like, you’re doing street capoeira. While walking.

3:52 pm: Um, people are starting to stare.

3:52 pm: Well, of course they are. You’re the crazy capoeira girl. And you don’t have a purse.

3:53 pm: Screw this. I’m going to buy something. If only so I have a bag to carry.

3:54 pm: Oooh, Anthropologie!

3:55 pm: Wait, can I shop in Anthropologie? Will they think it’s weird that I don’t have a purse?

3:55 pm: No. Why would they think it’s weird?

3:56 pm: I don’t know. Maybe I’ll look like a shoplifter?

3:56 pm: That makes zero sense. Wouldn’t a shoplifter have a bag?

3:56 pm: I have no idea! I’m not a shoplifter!

3:57 pm: Okay, screw it, I’m going in.

3:57 pm: The girls working here looked at me weird. Of course, that could be because I just spent three minutes fighting with myself outside the door. And reaching into my phantom purse.

4:01 pm: Sweet Jesus, this store is overpriced.

4:03 pm: $198 for a dress that looks like it came from the thrift store? So not happening. Where’s the clearance rack?

4:05 pm: Fun fact – if it’s marked down from $349 to $180, it’s still not a bargain. Oooh, are those headbands?

4:05 pm: What are you doing? You don’t wear headbands.

4:06 pm: Well, just because I don’t doesn’t mean I can’t.

4:06 pm: Try to assess whether a $20 headband is cute, or if I’m having purse-separation-induced insanity. Decide to buy the headband.

4:07 pm: Realize that if I ask for bag for my minuscule headband, I will look even crazier than I did before. Decide to wear it out.

4:10 pm: Start walking back to the hotel. Starting to feel pretty awesome sans handbag. I’m light. I’m unencumbered. I have a cute new headband.

4:15 pm: Enter hotel room, feeling like a new woman. Upon seeing bag, being to weep. Clutch it to my chest whispering, “My precious.” Over and over again. I was wrong about everything.

4:17 pm: Try to reflect on the insanity of the last hour. Did I really wander the streets with nothing? Did I really make it back in one piece? How was I not eaten by wolves? And WHAT IN DEAR GOD DID I SPEND $20 on?

Um ...

4:18 pm:  Resolve to never go anywhere without a bag again.


Leave a Comment

  • The inner-dialogue that went on, was utterly brilliant. It would win you an Oscar just for this scene alone! lmao

    • I second this. I see definite Oscar potential in your inner monologues. I think you’re in the wrong profession.

  • You seem to have left your meds in your bag, as well.

    Also, I have pushed my glasses up on my nose when I wasn’t wearing them more times than I can remember.

    • Everywhereist

      I think I’ve actually witnessed you doing that.

  • RiderWriter

    This post came on a particularly opportune day since I managed to leave home this morning without my purse. As soon as I was able (idiotic lapse not detected until I got out of the car), a phone was snatched up to report this atrocious mishap to my husband. He could not deliver the bag until past noon, so I spent the entire morning needing a nail file and feeling sub-human without my iPhone. A terrible feeling, that; yes, it’s a shame we’re now so dependent on technology, but I refuse to apologize for the psychic damage I feel when I’m unable to check email five times an hour. Someone might NEED me. They might have given me a Nobel Prize. You just never know!

    Anyway, regarding bags: it never fails to amuse me, that despite the fact that the male members of my family routinely abuse me for the size and weight of my purse, they are overjoyed when I am able to instantly produce a needed item. “Mom, do you have a tissue/Advil/drink/pair of scissors/safety pin/Bandaid/phone charger/granola bar? You DO??? Wow, thanks!” Either that, or they ask me to carry things that don’t fit into their miniscule pockets. “Here Mom, can you put this water bottle/t-shirt/anvil in your purse? I haven’t got anywhere for it…” 🙂

    I have trained my daughter well; her bag now outweighs mine, and I have to remind her it’s ok to throw out the 3-month-old Walmart receipts and candy wrappers.

    I simply cannot believe you went out onto the streets of San Francisco… *gasp*… NAKED.

  • RiderWriter

    @Philip: Ditto. What contacts…

  • lisa

    Okay, the photo with the bag? Looks RIGHT!! And I like your outfit.

    The photo with the headband? Burn that one. And the headband.

  • Pingback: Today I Decided to Have Fun for the Rest of My Life | Living On Impulse()

  • Prajakta

    Hilarious!!! Too good! I agree with Gheorghe Muresan!!! You should get an Oscar for the dialogues!! Kudos!

  • Solution: Attach your scarf to a stick and create a hobo bag. Hobos know how to travel light.

    Benefits: You are still able to carry stuff. New fashion trend. Reduced back pain. You can ask others for spare change.

    This solution should also curtail the strange looks from others…

    (ok maybe not)

    • Everywhereist

      Hobo chic, as it were.

  • Ally

    As I’m laughing through the whole piece as if I was not at all like this, I realize I’m EXACTLY like this. Bags and bags – they go with me everywhere. I have a work tote, a fun tote, multiple shopping canvas bags, the “good purse”, the “crappy weather” handbag, the “basics” wallet, and the extensions of all of these. Lovely blog – you have a new fan!

  • OMG, what a brilliant post. I evey so often think of going without my purse, but realize i have so many little things that need a home. so i try to sort them out according to importance, but end up stuffing everything in my purse!

    your inner-dialogue .. pure brilliance, made me chuckle in the office!

  • Hilarious! I loved everything about this post, from the non-bag carrying ninjas and babies to the inner dialogue. ^^,

    Just one teeny tiny itsy bitsy grammar error I noticed (because I’m a pedantic ex copy-editor): In 4:15 pm you wrote “being” instead of “begin” to weep. Minor really, but it made me stumble.

  • Also, I can’t decide if you’re playing the part of hippie or injun in that last shot there.

    (Also, I’ll probably catch flack at my above (lame) attempt at humor. FINE, PEOPLE: NATIVE AMERICAN.)

    • Everywhereist

      I’m clearly playing the part of the demented girl who shouldn’t be trusted to shop on her own. When I slid the thing further up my head, it looked fairly cute (by my estimation, which can’t at all be trusted).

  • Too funny. I feel your pain. Always carry too much stuff in bag that’s too big causing my shoulders to ache, but I’d be totally lost without it.

  • need to do a YouTube clip of this!

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