The Things We Tote

There was a meme going around the Internet a bit ago where people listed everything they had in their handbags. There were some objects that everyone had ““ driver’s license, a pen ““ but the interesting part came in the little idiosyncratic things people carried with them. It left me thinking, “What do our handbags say about us?”

It’s not necessarily a deep thought. Like I said, a whole meme sprung up around the concept that the crap we tote around wherever we go gives others a glimpse into our private lives. I bet there’s some truth to that. I mean, you wouldn’t find me without a notebook, and there’s a good reason for that ““  mainly that I need to write stuff down to remember it.

My bag-paradigm can be simply stated as speak softly and carry a big bag. Big bags are really lovely, and not just because you can make AC/DC songs about how you’ve got the biggest bags of them all. I can put so many things in it, preparing for any emergency. I’ve got Advil in case of a stealth-headache, a water bottle, a notebook and pens. I can shove in a book or magazine if I anticipate a wait. If I were to be abducted by rude aliens who only gave me a minute to get my stuff together, I’d just need to grab my bag and the essentials would be covered. I was never a Boy Scout, but I fully bought into the notion that I should be prepared.

More than that, though, I find that big bags enable me to not be even remotely prepared and still come out OK. Like let’s say that you had a rough day at work and you wanted to see a movie and get food but oh cripes the next showing starts in 20 minutes and you need 10 minutes just to get to the theater how will you eat? As someone who has snuck in burritos and banh mi into theaters thanks to large bags, I can say that you can eat very, very well.

They’re also great makeshift shopping/grocery bags. Turns out, I can shove a whole loaf of bread in mine, plus herbs and spices. It’s like KFC set up a biscuit shop in my bag. And if there’s a bag credit program set up at the store (you know, you get a nickel for each bag you bring in to use), this actually saves you money, so that’s cool.

It all comes down to the fact that my large bag can be almost a safety net for me. I might be uncertain about what’s out to great me in the world, but lord knows that I am coming out as prepared as possible. There’s a security in its heft. At the same time, it serves as an anchor. There’s always something for me to watch over and guard. There’s a very real feeling of a weight being lifted when I am able to shrug off my large bag and jump out into the world with just a little wristlet.

So on any given day, if I were to let you into my handbag (double entendre not intended, but hey, I’m not backing away from that right now), you’d find anything from ribbon to a deck of cards to a burrito to all of the above. The only cohesive thing my bag says about me (apart from, “Watch out girl, you’re veering dangerously into twee Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory,”) is that I am prepared ““ and burritos are key to being prepared.

So what do you always have with you? What does your handbag say about you?


24 replies on “The Things We Tote”

I have in my bag today:

1. Cellphone
2. Purse (wallet)
3. Notebook
4. Book (currently, Stiff by Mary Roach)
4. Pen
5. Keys
6. 2 x Earphones
7. 3 x Flash drives
8. Portable drive (only for today though)
9. Various USB cables
10. Tampons
11. Tissues
12. Various pills & plasters
13. Powder compact and lipstick (I now leave the full makeup bag at home)
14. ID & Access cards for work
15. Sunblock
16. Mini tub of Vaseline (muuuuuch better than hand lotion)
17. Shopping bag
18. ID Book
19. Sunglasses
20. Handwipes

I actually once had to get out of the house quickly and all I grabbed was my handbag. Raging mountain fires were spreading into my neighbourhood and we are all evacuated in the early hours of the morning. Fortunately I wasn’t in bed yet so I just grabbed my handbag, headed out and called my sister to come fetch me. (Our amazing firefighters stopped the fires from destroying any homes, even though the flames came right up to buildings and property lines.)

Now I have two cats so it wouldn’t be that simple but still, apart from my two brats, all I’d grab is my handbag and some cat food and litter.

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