Monday, October 26, 2009

the secret lives of purses

I looked around the blue room today and I said to myself, "what pile can I tackle that will yield the largest result with the least effort?" Not that I am feeling lazy - far from it in fact - but so many piles in The Project now require shelving or storage solutions and I, being unemployed, am out of the dollars needed to acquire such things.

But this pile here, this one comes with its own storage solution(s)!

ladies and gentlemen: luggage and purses

Of course, once I've sorted these and whittled the collection down to things that fit in the blue bin plus a suitcase or two, where am I going to put the bin and the suitcase or two?

I'm starting to suspect that I need to get even more serious about getting rid of things. And I'm going to start by returning this suitcase to Mr. Eric Foreman, or at least offering it back to him. I spilled NyQuil all over the inside flap while I was on tour in 2005, but it's still usable if you put a hand towel between the lid and the flap.

hey, eric: you want this back?

Truly amazing fact: inside this suitcase is a towel actually belonging to Eric himself, plus my travel neck pillow that I can NEVER find when I want it.

While I am going through this pile, I am thinking about the sentimentality of purses. Maybe this is weird and I am unique, but people aren't as special as we often think we are, so I bet other girls have encountered this phenomenon.

On average, I use a purse for about six months before I replace it. Sometimes the replacement is passive, like someone gives me a bacon-themed tin lunchbox for Christmas, and other times it's active, like my bookbag is full of cat pee and I must buy myself a new one. These purses come to represent chunks of history; they carry memory along with the lip glosses and cell phones.

Take this purse for example:

winter 2006 - 2007

I remember that this purse was large enough to carry a book and a clean shirt in addition to the normal purse contents. I remember this because when I look at it, I immediately recall the memory of setting it down on PKD's couch when we very first started spending time alone together. I remember that the red stripes matched my red hair. I remember that it always smelled like smoke and PKD's cologne when I got to work the next day. And I remember that one day at Maytan, Drumist startled me and I dumped an entire mug of coffee into it. Which is probably when I stopped using it: I washed it, hung it on the line to dry, and then got a new purse while this one joined the others in obsolescence.

Then there's this gem:

hello, kitty

I carried this Hello Kitty ™ shoulder bag (with matching change purse!) all over clubs and bars in the wake of my dad's heart attack in 2004. I could see my cell phone through the translucent vinyl, back when text messages were replacing calls as my preferred method of contact. I carried it while dancing to the Sounds and "Train in Vain," which Mat would always play when I showed up, every night I tried to dance and drink away the fear of mortality and loss that comes after the crisis goes.

Or this Air Force-issue duffel bag:

basic training teaches you how to fold it like this, I think

Jim sent it to me right before I moved to Texas. I packed everything I owned into this and one other bag, and lugged them from bus to train to train to bus, from Davis to San Antonio, over two-and-a-half days, to start my new life. I stood there, backpack over my shoulder, duffel at my feet, on the steps outside the visitor's center at Kelly AFB, wearing a Zoinks! t-shirt and greasy hair, and watched my new weird future walk toward me.

So what is one to do with all this useless history? Well, I have been meaning to try out one of Ramit Sethi's tips from his 30 Day Challenge to Save $1,000. Tip three is "Sell something on eBay today," which is more about teaching yourself about sacrificing to meet goals than it is about making money. So I think I will auction off these purses as a way to do that. I will.

librarian-like determination?

And finally, I just want to share with you this pile of things I pulled out of all the purses and luggage in this pile, including the world's largest maxi pad, and a five-year-old pack of gum:

the secret lives of purses

No comments: