If you are going to be a purse of mine (like you have a choice when I’ve plucked you off the bargain table at Nordstrom’s), you have to be very independent with the ability not to panic in the face of unintentional temporary abandonment. I’m sorry to say that such abandonment could happen anytime, anyplace: on the bus between terminals at Heathrow Airport (1990), under the seat at any movie theater or play (1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2009), at church on Christmas Eve (2012), at a McDonald’s PlayPlace (2000), at the Pizza Chef in New London, New Hampshire (2011), or at the Container Store (2013) among other places.
You may be asking yourself why a woman trusting you to carry very important items whose loss would seriously disrupt the quality of her life for weeks or even months would be so careless about keeping track of your whereabouts. All I can say is, don’t worry so much! You’ll eventually make your way back to me. And while you’re with me I will be very nice to you and occasionally clean out all the gum wrappers, crumbs, unused coupons, and grocery receipts.
How do I know you won’t be permanently lost? Historic evidence. My purses have more lives than cats. And it’s all because people are generally good and have found my purse and then located me and returned my purse either in person or through the mail. Even though I’ve left my purse all over the place on multiple continents, I have never lost one for good, knock on wood. I’ve never had to cancel a single credit card or replace my license or passport or mourn the loss of a wad of cash. And this is remarkable to me. The manager at that Texas McDonald’s even FedExed my purse to the hotel where we were staying on Mustang Island during a short respite from my cancer treatment back in 2000. How nice is that?
I have no idea why I can’t hang on to my purse. I think maybe it stems from the trauma of being a tomboy growing up and then being forced by nature to carry sanitary napkins and tampons, which don’t fit discretely into the pocket of Levi’s. How I hated that navy LeSportsac I got for my 12th birthday. My mom thought I would love it because back in the early 1980s LeSportsacs were cool, at least in my Connecticut town, and all my friends carried them. I, however, viewed the thing as evil, the very definition of the end of childhood and the beginning of a womanhood for which I was not prepared.
So, potential purses of mine, good news: now that I’m 42, I’ve grown to accept my womanhood. I don’t hate you anymore. I just have a hard time remembering where you are sometimes. If you ever get the job of being my purse, try to have a thick leather skin, know that it’s not personal and be prepared to meet a lot of nice, good-hearted people, like the saleslady who tracked me down on Google and phoned at 6 o’clock from the Container Store the other night. She even called me sweetheart before telling me that my purse would be spending the night in the store safe.