I may as well spill it: I don’t have a bag. Okay, maybe I’ll find one for a wedding or something (and then I’ll forget it near a staircase or behind a chair when it’s time to go home).
What I do carry, and have always carried, is a knapsack. First, I have a fussy back, and weight distribution over two shoulders is important. But also, a knapsack is big. It’s big, baby. Which is helpful when you are a mom of three young kids and need – let’s face it – a tote. It’s so helpful, in fact, that I don’t even have it as I write this: my husband has taken the children out for a bike ride, carrying necessary miscellany in my knapsack.
From my memory, it contains:
1. My wallet, a la George Costanza. Actually I never really watched Seinfeld, but so many people likened my wallet to George, that I just accepted it. Did you know that searching “George Costanza” brings up “George Costanza wallet” as the second option in the drop down list? Who knew? Well, all the world I suppose, and now I do too having just watched this clip. I confess I see a wallet likeness. Anyway, like George, I defend the monstrosity, even if it won’t comfortably close, because it houses so very much in one (sort of small) package. Some people see it and see disarray, but for me, it’s pure order. There’s even a pouch where I keep single earrings. Confession: I did take my wallet out of my knapsack yesterday to lighten it for a trip to the beach.
2. The keys to our rental car while on vacation (no actual metal key because it’s a hybrid, which starts by pressing a button). This is the car that we picked up at night, noticing only during daylight the long, fresh scratch that runs six feet down one side of the car.
3. Floss. I try not to leave home without it.
4. Lip balm and hand creams of some kind. Critical to basic skin comfort, especially in winter.
5. Hand-sewn tissue holder, bought in support of my children’s school fair. I love it, but am not great about ensuring it’s filled. Thus, my mother-in-laws donated plastic tissue packet nearby.
6. Balloons. Obviously.
7. A pair of mittens. Found in a forgotten pouch, and which gratefully I don’t need at the moment, but may well wear when I get home.
8. A mini-set of crayons, from a restaurant somewhere, sometime.
9. A book. Sometimes I don’t carry one to lose the weight, but I *so* regret it when I have an unexpected window to read and don’t have one on hand. I Hate to Cook Book (1960), loaned to me by a friend who just celebrated her eightieth birthday, offers this introduction:
Some women, it is said, like to cook.
This book is not for them.
This book is for those of us who hate to, who have learned, through hard experience, that some activities become no less painful through repetition: childbearing, paying taxes, cooking. This book is for those of us who want to fold our big dishwasher hands around a dry Martini instead of a wet flounder, come the end of a long day.
When my husband came home with the knapsack, and I unpacked all of the kids clothes, I found the following:
9. Two types of cough drops: Riccola and Halls.
10. A digital camera and carrying pouch.
11. Various receipts (which should really be in my wallet).
12. Two more sets of keys – my husband’s and mine.
13. Packet of Yellow Currant Tomato seeds, from a seed exchange at the Brickworks (I got tons of seeds, this packet is just lost and now found).
14. A reusable water bottle – a big one.
15. 3 pens, 4 paperclips, 1 hair tie, children’s dental floss.
16. A candy wrapper, which I consider the only piece of garbage in my bag. Your possibly different interpretation I hope you keep to yourself.