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