Pros and cons of the Big Purse…mostly cons.

Over time, my purses have gotten bigger and bigger. In some ways, this is wonderful! I used to think that a purse was only functional if it could hold at least 2 books.

My current purse could hold 20.

I jokingly call it the diaper bag, but most people don’t realize that it’s not much of a joke—-it technically IS a diaper bag. A nice, black, designer diaper bag, but vinyl lined all the same. It even came with one of those little mats on which you can lay the baby. Since I don’t have kids, I use it as a placemat for my cat’s food dish.

Occasionally I think about my big purse’s intended function. As I’m shoving two cell phones into the outside pocket, I realize that, though it perfectly fits both phones, it was probably meant for a baby bottle.

When I’m heading off to work, it’s perfect! I can fit the newspaper, a book, my lunch, both cell phones (work and personal), my digital camera…etc. I keep everything in there!

But there’s also a problem with my big purse…

I keep EVERYTHING in there.

Recently I attended an event at which my big purse was not really such an asset. The Beer Festival. I didn’t plan on bringing it along, but I ended up going straight to the fairgrounds after work. Used to carrying the 18 lb bag on my shoulder, it didn’t occur to me to leave it in the car and just take the essentials. Nope. The whole bag came along for the ride.

On the way in the door, the security guard asked me if I had anything in there that I shouldn’t be carrying. I started realizing that my bag had gotten out of hand. I stopped and thought for a few moments, trying to remember everything that is in my purse. I finally looked at him and replied “I don’t think so, but I haven’t emptied it out in a while.”

Thinking I was just being cute, he let me pass.

Unfortunately for me, that was just the beginning.

Upon entering, my purse came in handy! Queen bee asked me if I had a pen (to rate each beer in the little booklet). Surely enough, I did! Rummaging through the bag, I came up with four pens total. Need chapstick? No problem! It took me a few minutes to find it, but, of course, I had some!

The trouble began to accumulate as the night wore on. As more and more people crowded into the fairground, my big purse became more and more cumbersome. People passing by jostled me repeatedly, mostly because they got caught on my big bag.

Equally troublesome was trying to find a place to put it when I went to the bathroom. During a beer-fest at the fairgrounds, I did not DARE put it on the floor, so instead I was forced to balance it awkwardly on my knees. My deep love of the handbag was fading fast at this point.

Within a few hours, I was getting frustrated with the event in general, and my bag specifically, I decided that I might want to think about heading home. With this in mind, I decided to pull out my keys and start heading for the door. First, I passed my 6 oz tasting glass off to Queen Bee, along with the little beer-rating booklet and pen. She held it patiently while I dug through my bag, searching for my keys. I checked all four external pockets, but didn’t find them. My fingers grazed both cell phones, a pill case, my Ipod, my headphones, my Ipod case, a few receipts, and about 12 dollars in change. No keys.

Moving to the large internal compartment, I ran my hand around the perimeter a few times, shaking the bag to listen for the jingling that would help me to locate the hiding items.

Eventually, Queen Bee commissioned a friend to hold one of the purse handles and our beer glasses, while I held the other handle and watched Queen Bee take a turn at the key-search. She shifted through the mess in the middle compartment, verbally taking inventory of the items as she did so.

“One…two…three…four…five newspapers!” she counted out, knocking one out of the purse and onto her foot. “Flemmily, why do you have five newspapers in here?”

Muttering softly, I tried to explain to Queen Bee that tecnically there were only four newspapers, but one had gotten separated into two sections. But she’d already moved on and was counting out how many notebooks, tablets, lip glosses, and other personal items had accumulated in the blasted bag. Even after she reached the two novels at the bottom of the purse, we still hadn’t found my keys. I tried the outer pockets one more time, and found my keys lodged between the pill case and yet another lip gloss.

Queen Bee helpfully pointed out that my purse has a little clip attached to a short cord specifically intended for keys.

Sweating from the effort (not to mention the warmth of the crowd and my fleece jacket) and somewhat mortified, I tried to collect myself and make my way towards the doors. As semi-drunken beer afficionados bumped into my bag, I was knocked off kilter. Weaving my way to the door, I probably appeared to have tasted far more beer than I actually had. It seemed as though a few beer-enthusiasts were going out of their way to run into me, but I passed this off as paranoia.

I passed a very drunk older gentleman as I got close to the door–complete with trucker hat, yellowing beard, and plaid flannel shirt, he was hardly able to stand. I picked my way past him as he swayed, one of his hands grasping the corner of the wooden support beam.  As the beer splattered over my arm, jeans, and shoes, I heard the old man’s tasting glass hit the floor and shatter. My hand dropped to my purse—sure enough, it too was soaked in hefeweizen. I glanced over my shoulder…though the man was very VERY drunk, he still managed to give me a condescending glare.

Well, not me so much.

My purse.

I’ll probably never be sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion that my big purse probably caused the crash of the pilsner glass.

Luckily for me, I was already to the door by this point. I tossed my damp, abused, unappreciated bag in the passenger seat and drove home. It wasn’t until I was walking into my apartment that I realized one of the reasons people kept “bumping” into me on my way out…

My diaper bag purse was now wearing six or seven brewery stickers on the broad end.

Oh well—-at least they’ll go with the lingering scent of alcohol.

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