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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's in My Bookbag/Purse

I wish that I could leave the house without dragging along my purse, or pack, or book bag, or whatever the fuck you want to call it. For me this thing is practically genetically attached; just the cost of doing business if you happen to be a reader. If I didn't read, if I weren't scared half-shitless* to be caught without something to read when I have a few extra minutes to spare, then I wouldn't need to carry a damn purse. If I have a book then I need my reading glasses so I need to have them on hand. I also don't like to ever be without a pen and paper. A cell phone seems to be a modern necessity, although not by my choosing. My camera almost always comes with me when I'm out of the house, although you'd never guess that photography concerns me in the least judging by the shitty pictures I take. If you can haul all this schwag around and not have a purse then bravo to you.

In Spanish right now I am reading El Talento de Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith and in French a translation from Italian called Soie (Silk) by Alessandro Baricco. These books and the crap I mentioned in the first paragraph I carry around in my Puma bike messenger bag. I have been thinking of switching to a more adult-looking briefcase but it would still be a purse, wouldn't it? If you don't carry one it probably means that you aren't a reader.

One more thing that I carry in my pack is a reusable shopping bag. I rarely plan to go grocery shopping so always carrying a bag with me saves countless plastic bags from the supermarket (don’t get me started on plastic bags—the root of all evil). I’m saving the planet!

Bags are more necessary for city dwellers than suburbanites who spend a good part of the day in their cars. You have to be more self-contained when walking around a city whereas suburbanites are usually never too far from their automobiles—sort of an extension of their homes. I guess you could say that a bag is like a trunk for a pedestrian.

For me and most city dwellers, every trip out of the apartment is something of an expedition and for that you need a certain amount of gear. It’s not exactly Scott of the Antarctic but urban survival can be a complicated matter. If you stop for a cup of coffee how can you do the crossword puzzle without a pen? How can you (I) read the newspaper without reading glasses? Sometimes you even need to brush your teeth on the fly. My pocket Leatherman tool has literally saved my life on more than one occasion.

What are your out-of-the-house essentials?

*I'm not sure what “half-shitless” means or even if it is worse than being full shitless.


  1. Eso se llama una mariconera! How appropriate.

  2. I guess that settles it once and for all: I'm a big purse-carrying fruit.

  3. Although I have been told that a "mariconera" is a fanny pack (riñonera).


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