Dismissing the fact that I have several* of the things already, I decided a week or so ago to buy myself another.
I should make a good impression in the new office, I tried to justify to myself, ignoring the fact that I’m the only female in my current team of two and the company we share the building with is 80% male. Impressions made by the bag are liable to be less than that made by the cleavage.
And thus is was that the big, tan, slightly-frayed-round-the-edges number that I had been carting all my crap around in has now been resigned in favour of the new red leather tote. Naturally, this necessitated a removal of all my day-to-day essentials, as the stuff I really can’t get through till 6pm without had to be moved from one to the other.
Holy cow, do I carry a lot of utter rubbish round with me.
Obviously, I can’t get to work if I don’t take my railcard; I can’t get into the office unless I take my keys; and I can’t get the offices of one of clients unless I take my entrance pass. I can’t pick up a large Earl Grey on the way in without having my purse; or see where I’m going without the specs; and this is 2011 so I need my iPhone.
Spending a lot of time on trains as I do, the Kindle is a must, or I’d die of boredom. And I hate life not being soundtracked, so I need my iPod too.
The hair isn’t always under as much control as I’d like, so a comb and kirby grips for emergency midday surgery are non-negotiables. And there’s nothing worse than turning up at an evening event under-eyelinered so I’ve got some of that, too. And if you’re carrying eyeliner – oh, and under-eye concealer – you might as well have a whole make-up kit.
Given that the hair is, as aforementioned, rarely doing what it should, the last thing I need is for it to get wet and frizzy, so the umbrella is a prerequisite for leaving the house. And because this is Britain, you can’t count on the weather, so it always pays to carry a pair of sunglasses too.
If things aren’t written down in my life, there’s no chance they’ll happen, so I need my diary; and you never know when you’ll need a pen and paper, so there’s a notebook, too, and a pen. Oh, and a spare, because biros stop working with unpredictable frequency. And painkillers, because I don’t want life to stop working on a regular basis.
Being a thrifty kinda gal I quite often have a takeaway tub containing some variant on lunch, be it leftover butternut squash and crispy sage risotto, or a sandwich I’ve cobbled together with a bit of cheese and the stuff that’s on the turn in the salad drawer.
And then, obviously, in a bag that’s been in everyday use for an awfully long time, I’ve apparently been carrying around a load of crap that I don’t really need.
Receipts (numerous. Mostly from bars); a box of now-obsolete business cards; an aging cereal bar; a tampon; two bangles; a card from The Ledbury; a hairbrush; a pair of black leather gloves; an entrance ticket to MOMA; and 78 pence (sterling) 30 cents (Euro) and 4 cents (US dollar) in change.
Which is, by anyone’s definition, quite a lot of stuff. So much, in fact, that I might need another bag to carry it all around in.
*Dependent on your definition of ‘several’