My Quest

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.

7 thoughts on “My Quest”

  1. Hilarious, Debbie! For as long as I carried a diaper bag, I used no purse at all, but put my wallet in the diaper bag. Once our boys outgrew the diaper bag I restricted myself to using a purse not much bigger than a wallet. This is wonderful for two reasons: it forces me to be well-organized and to carry only what I truly need, and it prevents me from getting stuck carrying junk that belongs to the other three members of my family.

  2. I must own the same collection of purses as you do. I have yet to purchase a purse that meets all my criteria. I also have a collection of purses, none of which I truly like. Why am I keeping them? I keep thinking that surely I can eliminate some of the things in my purse and then one of these on the shelf will work fine. Still waiting for that day. How can a woman get by with a wallet size purse??????

  3. We must be related! Jim always gives me the car keys when we get to church because I sometimes get to the car before him. It never EVER fails that I can never find the keys when we walk out to the car. At first it’s just a simple and dignified hand in the bag swipe. When that fails, it escalates into a up to the elbow dig. By this time Jim has lost patience and is saying “Good grief!” Before it is over I have the contents of the purse drug out on the hood of the car while everyone is going around us shaking their heads and laughing. Every week I vow it will never happen again, but it always does! So, if that tool box works for you, let me know! Do they have pink zebra stripe?

  4. I have come up with the perfect option – just use the same one all the time and every once in a while, it will match!

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