The Urban Nomad: Why I Carry a Big Purse

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As I walk into work with my big purse, my school bag, my lunch bag, and my change of clothes, I laugh and think “wow, I must look ridiculous.” I’m practically a bag lady!

The hub chuckles as I ram my arm into my purse for the fifth time in search for my keys. Once they have shifted to the bottom, we may never see them again. People often ask me why I carry such a large purse. Yes, part of the reason is fashion. I love the look and style of the big Hobo bags, or large satchels in bright colors with their leather braiding and metal adornments. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a bit of a necessity to carry a large purse.

See I work full time and go to school. In addition to this I have a very active social life.  I often go from one thing to another without having any time to stop home in between.  On Wednesdays I literally have to go straight from work to school and since I REFUSE to wear my hideous work uniform anywhere besides my car to work and work to home, I always bring a change of clothes. Then there are the days when I go straight from work to workout, again another change of clothes. When you try to cram as much into your day as you can, whether by choice or not, the result can often be bag lady syndrome. 

You just have to look at my car to know I am always on the run. Clothes, shoes, receipts, wrappers, empty or half empty pop bottles, magazines, empty (but used) coffee mugs clinking in the back seat, these are all items one may find littering my car. As I step on the gas while exiting the work parking lot on my way to school, I often find myself in a fit of rage throwing things around my car, while driving and trying to find x, y, or z.

Or if my car isn’t enough of an indication of my hectic schedule, my desk at work is another great example.  After all we spend 9 hours of our waking day at work. In the top drawer of my desk at work you will find:

Nail file- I can’t stand it when I have uneven nails do to breakage. Drives me to the point of insanity.

Cuticle clippers- hang nails are also the bane of my existence. I can’t deal with when I have one; I end up rubbing the hang nail back and forth back and forth like a crazy and then it hurts. Once I cleaned my apartment and found 5 pairs of cuticle clippers. Needless to say they are an essential.

Nail polish remover- I hate chipped nails and I only use this to remove my old nail polish. I promise that despite the list of manicure supplies I do NOT “do” my nails at work.

Cotton balls- This is necessary for the above mentioned

Deodorant- I often wake up last minute. I shower throw on my uniform and once in a blue moon I have forgotten to apply this essential product. Since then I always have a travel sized in my desk.

Travel tooth brush & Tooth paste- two words “Coffee Breath.” I used to have a teacher in college who taught costume shop. He would come around from student to student to help us with our stitching. His breath was bad enough to peal paint of the walls. (Perhaps that is why I became such great seamstress?) I promised myself I would never be one of these people. If you are ever talking to me and I offend you with my coffee breath I would be more than grateful if you’d point that out to me.  I’d be forever in debt.

Lip gloss- I literally have a lip gloss or chapstick everywhere. One in my desk, one in my car, one in my purse, and one at home. Anyone who has experienced dry or chapped lips knows that not having lip gloss is not an option.

Ponytail holder- For when I get down to work and my hair decides to fly in my face.

Body spray-  Ever since I have been wearing perfume that lasts all day, this one doesn’t seem as necessary, but it sure comes in handy when strange smells waft from the exam rooms into the hall way. Wounds do not smell pretty.  (For those who don’t know, I work in a hospital Infectious Disease outpatient department)

Baby wipes- These suckers take out coffee stains like no bodies business, which is kinda of creepy when you realize they are made for babies most delicate places. They are also great for wiping down toilet seats in public restrooms.  Have you seen the Grog Shop bathroom on a busy night? (Though I have seen much worse)

Sewing kit- I wear the same outfit 5 days a week. I’m forced to. So my work clothes not only get worn a lot they get washed A LOT, which means they get WORN OUT A LOT!  I have sewn the crotch of my pants in the bathroom at work FAR more than I care to admit.

Extra panty hose- I fear the snag…which is why I tend to wear the pants option to work, but since I can’t take the idea of sewing yet another hole up I have opted for the skirt option lately.

And my old hair straightener- I used to be late for work a lot… I’m talk 2 -3 minutes, but my administrator doesn’t care, she’d give me late points regardless. So I decided that I would bring my hair straightener to work so that in the morning I could fix my hair in the bathroom at work. It works. I haven’t been late since. Plus in the summer my bangs take on a life of their own.

Yes I have used every single one of these things. And I’d feel naked without them.

In my marketing class we were discussing the new product by Starbucks called Via. This discussion is actually what inspired this blog. Starbucks new ad campaign for Via is “Never be without great coffee.”  Starbuck is looking to target their normal customers, who enjoy great coffee, but can’t always get to a Starbucks. The promotional décor in their stores shows cut outs of women and their Via packets poking out of their oversized purses. Have we gotten so busy that stopping for a cup of coffee at a Starbucks is not an option? Is it possible that we have become urban nomads going from one place to another much like pack mules, only ever stopping at home to sleep. This may be a tad of an exaggeration for me, but for other people out there I don’t think it is that much of a stretch.

We are all in a hurry. (Most of you probably don’t even have time to read this blog) We have taken on so many responsibilities. We are far too busy out there living life and getting shit done. Time is money and we have no time to stop at home for that extra pair of panty hose. So we start to bring home with us. There is comfort in having everything you need right by your side. I like to be the person that people can come to in an “emergency” The person who has the extra tampon or the hand cream, nail file or a needle and thread. And I know I am not the only person who does this either.

My mother hates big purses, even though she has been known to rock a few in her day. She carries a more reasonably sized purse now, but she still manages to cram every little thing imaginable into it. My bestest of friendies also carries a big bag (think messenger style). Her bag is full of much more colorful items then just hand lotion and feminine hygiene products. She, at one point had several pairs of 3D glasses in her bag as well as a pen that resembled a “sonic screwdriver” from the Doctor Who series. The hub has also more recently jumped on the bag toting trend. He also carries a messenger bag. If one was so inclined to look in his bag, which you would do at your own risk, you would find some pretty bizarre items, such as a butt load of pens, notebooks, animal noses (plastics ones not real) and little plastic action figures. 

 I am almost certain that I have, on many occasions, had equally bizarre items in my bag. Normally you would never be allowed to see the contents of my purse because my purse is more than just a place to store my daily essentials. It is from day to day my home, as private a place as the thoughts in my head. But today you get a peak.

My purse contents as of right now:

Make up bag

Wallet

Brush

Several post-it notes with messages to myself. Lists of stuff I have to do or list of money I need to pay.

Notebook

Two pens

MP3 player

2 Appointment reminders for my acupuncture

Handful of receipts –Target, Chipotle, Dairy King, Girl Props (printed out from the computer at work), and 2 CoPay receipts from doctors appts.

A gum wrapper

A promotional ad for 10% off at Shoparooni that I received at Beachland Brunch on Sunday

My program and ticket from Fiddler on the Roof

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Rimmel 60 second nail polish in “Red Carpet”- I painted my nails in the car before work on Monday…not while driving though.

Nail file

Recipes I printed out from work

My watch

Digital camera

Rogue make-up (this is makeup that has found its way out of my make up bag and to the bottom of my purse)

Vitamins

Travel sized toothbrush, toothpaste, & mouthwash

My planner

Ibuprofen

Clothing tag from a pair of new workout pants

An article on Taxing Issues for not-for profits organizations.

My keys

And my Blackberry

And that’s it. That is what I have been lugging around with me all over the northeast Ohio area. I leave you with my advice for fellow crazies who have way too much on their plate: Walk softly and carry a big purse.

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