In my youth it was considered poor manners to peer into a lady’s handbag. My mother’s carry-all could have been classified as a lethal weapon it was so heavy. And mine, certainly no Gucci or Prada, could well be used to fend off a foolish attacker.
So for all you curious menfolk, who never got to sneak a peek into that bottomless pit of feminine accessories, here is a list of the current contents of mine, colour-co-ordinated of course to my peach outfit of the day (Okay so I admit I have a handbag fetish):
- Glasses case with my reading glasses and prescription sunglasses, along with a pair of cheap knock-offs from the Crazy Store which I purchased on a whim, thinking they were cooler than my real ones – they’re not.
- A Lego toy, which Liam left in the car a while ago.
- Plasters – because I went through a responsible mom phase.
- Tissues – bought in the same abnormal frenzy as the small bandages. These don’t last because children always sniff in mass. I even tried helping out the altar server sitting in front of us last week, but he waved me away nonchalantly and continued to wipe his nose on his alb for an hour. Other than people clicking their knuckles during the service, sniffing irritates me the most.
- My keys which are on a sweet little keyring with the wise words: ‘Forget about the dog; beware of the children!’ Lizzy gave it to Andrew for Christmas one year and kind-hearted soul that he is, he could never bear to use it. I on the other hand, have no such scruples. Kids are scary creatures.
- My sister’s house keys. Just in case she has another hilarious (for us) moment of locking herself out of the sliding door on the balcony of her beachfront apartment, leaving her stranded in her pyjamas for all of Table View to whistle at.
- A Peppermint and a gross Mugg and Bean humbug-type boiled candy (which just happened to find its way into my bag – no, of course I haven’t been out without you, dear.)
- Notebook and pen, for jotting down writing ideas, shopping lists, and other reminders to keep my burgeoning dementia at bay.
- Butter and jam sachets – Okay so I admit I did pop in for a cappuccino and date and nut muffin. But look: I brought you back the butter and jam.
- Fagin gloves, beanie and hairclips for watching Michael play football (and an elastic band for his man bun! I should add scissors to ‘stop the knot.’)
- Cellphone – probably on silent – I am busy living my life, not instagramming it, damnit! Or else it’s on ‘outdoor’ – but I only hear it when I am driving in traffic with nowhere to pull over. My family is constantly complaining I don’t answer it.
- A cellular device and/or wallet belonging to one of my progeny because s/he didn’t bring a bag and ‘please will I just keep them safe.’
- In the zip up part of my bag all you would see (if you were rude enough to look) are my spare car keys and earring butterflies. After all, one is decidedly undressed sans ear decoration.
- Then there is the wallet, which contains the usual loyalty cards, licences, my super new ID card (actually it is quite ugly, but at least I now have ID without eighties hair.)I have a photo of my husband and one of my beloved bairns (when they were bambinos) and 6 library cards all with fines on them, but I have discovered that if you wait for library week there is a general fine amnesty. My purse is really heavy because it has more coins than notes in it. It also has emergency cards for Daniel, the Zimbabwean mechanic , who works miracles on Le Moto, and the animal hospital in case Maggie’s sugar goes haywire. My hairdresser’s card is there too, because let’s face it, bad hair days are also emergencies. I think my Woolies card counts as a crisis card as well because we all know that when Mom is shopping at Woolworths the end of the month is nigh and funds are not.
- I once had a teeny Tupperware thingie with emergency Panados for those bad headaches at school, but it’s empty now and I keep forgetting to fill it.
- A make-up bag with emergency putty and paint.
- There is usually an account or two or sales slip for art supplies plus someone’s school report or flash drive because I have turned into that mother who drops off her precious baby’s school project which was forgotten on his desk and the extra glass, clay, paint or kitchen sink for the art project.
- I have to be careful not to throw those out with the scraps of paper and plastic wrappings from various purchases which, as an eco-friendly citizen, I have kept to throw away at home. My mother kept every ATM slip she ever received in her bag and simply tipped them in a bedside drawer when her bag became too full. I am not that bad. (There is generally not enough cash to draw anyway.)
- Finally I carry a small deodorant or elegant vial of perfume because lugging all this weight around is hard work. No one wants a sweaty taxi driver.
And they wonder why I don’t answer my phone: I can never find the darn thing amidst all this stuff!
Perhaps I need a bigger bag.
Picture by Igor Sakowsky