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In the Bag

September 3, 2019

I usually carry about $20. I have gotten out of the habit of using cash, because nearly everything can now be paid for by credit card. And speaking of credit cards, I only use two, which should make life pretty simple. With my driver’s license and health insurance card, I have all I need to function as a motor vehicle operator, a consumer, and someone who might suddenly end up in the ER, right?

So why have I been carting a Really Significant Bag everywhere with me? Well, because it isn’t just “purse-y” things that I keep in that cavernous leather carry-all. My laptop, planner, journal, Kindle, phone, and various chargers also occupy a good bit of space. I walk to work now many mornings, and have been having pain in my right hip as I march along. Turns out, my discomfort stems from the fact that my gargantuan tote bag is slung over my LEFT shoulder (go figure). As soon as I put the bag down, bye bye pain! But the twinges do remind me that I am not a beast of burden, and I need to watch it before I really injure myself.

Recently, I came up with what I thought was a splendid idea: when only running an errand or two, I decided to leave Monster Purse at home. Instead, I crammed my quarters and nickels and I.D. into a tiny woven zippered purse I got in Guatemala years ago. Light as a feather, it seemed to be all I needed at those moments. At the supermarket, I’d drop it into my reusable cloth grocery bag, to be fished out at checkout time.

But there’s a problem with my new system: I keep losing track of the change purse! It’s been left on store counters, fallen behind furniture, and slipped under the front seat of the Hyundai. More than once I have frantically searched, only to discover it still inside one of those grocery bags. I’m coming to realize—it’s just not quite big enough.

Well, well, Goldilocks, I say to myself. One is too big, one is too small. Where is my just-right bag? One that can hold my sunglasses, tissues, keys and breath mints, without the extra storage space that tempts me to also bring along the Encyclopedia Brittanica?

Knowing me and my habits, that perfect receptacle does not exist. Whatever I use will always be packed to the gills with all manner of flotsam and jetsam. I’ll either be lugging the contents of my house in my huge carrier, or misplacing my inadequate little Guatemalan souvenir.

Big or small, however, my bags all swallow whatever I need most, spitting out my pedicure punch card instead of my Amex, my gas receipt instead of my paycheck. It’s as if they are in cahoots, teaming up to drive me crazy!

I think the next step for me is pockets. Lots and lots and lots of pockets. 

And if I look a little lumpy, so be it.

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    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: www.eliseseyfried.com or email me at eliseseyf@gmail.com.