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.


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