Sunday, April 24, 2005

Minuscule Reticule

Minuscule Reticule
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
You look a trifle warm. Why don't you take off your balaclava? I'd find that a little itchy myself, but then I've always been one for freedom of movement. Even in the depth of winter I wear next to nothing.

I love this snippet of monologue from Harold Pinter's play, A Slight Ache. One reason I think I've memorized this bit is because of the "I've always been one for freedom of movement" line. It really resonates with me.

I resent having to carry purses and handbags. They interfere tremendously with my freedom of movement. I must have my hands free when walking! How very irksome it is to walk any distance clutching a shoulder strap that is attached to a bag that's weighing down one side of my body. It throws my whole body out of alignment.

When I used to work in an office, a handbag was unavoidable. I had a 50-minute commute on the "el"* to and from work. I always carried a sizeable bag filled with things like gym clothes, a book, a Walkman, assorted painkillers, tampons, loose change, shredded Kleenexes, and unsavory detritus that seemed to spontaneously generate in the bottom of the bag. Yuck. And I kept trading up--buying larger and larger bags and carrying more and more crap. It was madness!

Now, of course, my commute involves a leisurely stroll from one part of the house to another. It takes 45 seconds (if traffic is bad), and I manage to accomplish it without carrying a whacking great bag of crap--yet another thing that rocks about working from home.

So the purse/handbag problem has been nearly solved. I've pared down what I carry with me to the bare minimum: keys, wallet, and sometimes sunglasses. In fall, winter, and spring I can easily carry all this stuff--"man style"--in my jacket or coat pockets. But come summer, I wear shorts and sundresses--garments that do not have any pockets. What to do?

I refuse to wear a fanny pack (UK: bum bag). It does get high marks in the freedom-of-movement department, but aesthetically? One word: codpiece. And a droopy codpiece at that. I cannot do it.

Last year I "dealt" with the lack-of-purse problem by foisting my keys and wallet on B (and his pockets) whenever we were out together. When I wasn't with B, I dumped my stuff in a camera bag that I had mysteriously acquired at some point.** The camera bag was far from ideal. Although small, it bashed against my hip with every stride, gradually moving forward and eventually bashing my stomach. I had to constantly yank the thing back to where it was supposed to be. Extraordinarily irritating. Plus, it had "MINOLTA" emblazoned on it. This caused an awkward moment once while I was having drinks with friends. I had to leave early and, in an attempt to be unobtrusive, I picked up the camera bag and slowly moved it toward my lap while attempting to remain fully engaged in the conversation. I was only trying to be polite, but I noticed that one friend's eyes were riveted on the bag. She looked sort of panicky. Turns out she thought I was going to whip out a camera and take some sort of candid shot, the result of which would be that yet another bad photo of her would be floating around the universe.

Summer is approaching. I don't want to frighten any more friends or permanently bash in my hip, so I decided that I needed to obtain some sort of minuscule reticule. My first thought was, "Here's my chance to knit a felted bag!" But after looking at a bunch of patterns on the Web, I didn't see anything that I could tackle with my very modest knitting skills. Plus, I really should maintain focus on the huge-ass afghan if I want to finish it in my lifetime. My second thought was that I should check out Saturday Market, since it is one of the few shopping venues I can stomach. As it happens, there is an embarrassment of minuscule reticules being sold at Saturday Market. As you can see, the bag I chose is not exactly a reticule, but it is minuscule and that's the main thing.

And now, I will award myself the Prolixity Award (long overdue). Who else would write 764 words detailing how a minor purchase came about, when posting a photo of the purchase with the following caption: "I bought this at Saturday Market." would have sufficed?***

*Chicago's elevated and subway train system.
**I acquired the camera bag but not the camera.
***And who else would actually think that buying a handbag is a blogworthy event?


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