Diogenes of Sinope trudged through Greece carrying a lantern and looking for an honest man. Ponce de Leon roamed the earth in search of the Fountain of Youth. My goal is a less lofty one: I want just once in my lifetime to buy the right purse.
I need a new purse, but I hesitate to buy one because my closet is full of wrong purses. I have purses with straps too long and straps too short and purses insistent upon toppling from the passenger seat of the car and landing upside down on the floor if I so much as tap the brake pedal. Several of my purses eat pens while manufacturing paper clips. I have purses that require me, when reaching inside for my sunglasses case, first to pull out my cell phone, wallet, car keys, tissue pack, lipstick, checkbook, hand sanitizer, compact, breath mints, photo of the grandkids and a dozen scraps of paper. I hate every purse I own.
I am not a fashionista. Names like Coach, Gucci and Vera Bradley do not allure me. I choose function over form when it comes to purses and everything else I buy. The perfect purse will stand upright on its own when full or empty, even if that requires some kind of weighted bottom. It will have only one strap and will be made of sturdy material. This handbag will possess an adequate number of compartments and will close securely. Surely I do not ask too much.
Off I go to my local department store and enter the accessories area. My eye is caught immediately by a cute straw handbag in a nice, neutral color. A quick look inside reveals, however, no compartments, meaning that everything I carry would amass together in the bottom like a pile of rubbish. Next, I examine a black handbag made of good quality leather and possessing a suitable number of inner pockets. However, this bag has two straps. I know from experience that one strap would rest as it should on my shoulder and the other one would forever tickle my elbow. I move on to look at a pretty, flower print bag made of quilted fabric, but even on the store shelf it has collapsed in upon itself, looking like a sleeping duck. Is there no purse that meets my reasonable requirements?
In order to clear my head and renew my energy, I determine to leave accessories for a while and browse through home furnishings. On my way to the bedspreads, I pass the hardware department. There, prominently displayed on a shelf, is a tan, leather tool bag. It has a weighted bottom, one sturdy handle, and enough pockets to allow both my lipstick and compact to occupy their own niches. I quickly note that the bag is also available in nylon, canvas, and quilted denim—a new look for every season. The bag has a secure top closure, and even the price is reasonable. My heart races as I realize that the perfect bag for me has existed all the time. I was just shopping in the wrong department.