Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ink-Stained Wretch

The things girls carry around in their purses are varied, fascinating, and a testament to the life of the carrier. If you've ever played a friendly game of "empty your purse" at a bar with your best ladyfriends, you're bound to turn up much weirder detritous than hairbrushes, lipgloass, credit cards and breath mints, especially in a city where you often will go for 16-hour stretches (which could encompass everything from the gym to work to volunteer trash-picking to the opera all in one day) without returning home. My bags tend to be tangled messes of smelly gym shoes, climbing gear, marginal lunch items in tupperware, plastic blisters of Nicorette gum, notebooks, books, matches, discarded plastic forks, salt packets, ticket stubs, hair elastics, half-finished crossword puzzles, electronic gadgets, water bottles, and up to a million other useful or not-so-useful things. They're usually full of unidentified crumbles of crap and by the time I've hauled them around for a year are dirty, smelly, generally unfit for the general public to behold, and completely unsalvagable.

This time, I swore it would be different. After ruining my shoulders by hauling around numerous cheap bags of man-made fabrics which cut into my tendons and ripped under the weight of the loads I made them bear, I decided it was time to buy a Grown Up Lady Bag. Especially now that I worked at a fancy magazine where people's bags look like they cost upwards of two weeks of my take-home pay. So I went to Coach and found a nice, sturdy, gorgeous creamy white shoulder bag, which I promised to love and cherish and clean as frequently as my own face to keep it looking supple and new. It was expensive.

And I kept my promise. Each night I took out all the Nicorette bubbles. I scooped up any dirty quarters that had been handed to me during the day and plunked them in a change jar. I started carrying my smelly shoes in a different bag.

This morning, I opened my lovely bag and found that a black pen had exploded all over the inside, soaking not only the pretty cream satin lining but also my phone, various cosmetic items, IDs, and, when I pulled the offending item out, my hands.

I thought my days as an ink-stained wretch were behind me, but I was foolish to deny my roots.


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