Friday, 19 December 2014

Guest post part 2.Women and their handbags.

I'm very pleased to be able to post a second installment on Women and their Handbags from Stephanie Richards
A Significant Relationship?
Women and their handbags.
Part 2. A relationship too important to downsize.
By Stephanie Richards.

Having not left the house without a handbag since 1964, preparing to fly off for a visit meant ‘pass the Best Bag please’. Out came my favourite black leather long handled bag. Some might say huge, but I say elegant and roomy.
And then.
Oh. It is still too raw not to wince as I type….
And then.
I discovered that it was too big to fit under the aeroplane seat.
This was one of the new rules about air travel that had come into being since I last flew. Liquids and pastes in plastic bags, print your own boarding pass and no boiled sweets at all.
Worst of all, hand luggage had to be within a certain size to be able to fit under the seat in front. My bag would be allowed in the overhead locker, but I need the anti anxiety powers of my personal space here with me in my seat, not up there nestled next to a laptop, something wrapped in blue plastic and a leopard skin ‘just the right size so its cabin baggage’ wheelie case, so the locker was not an option.
What should I do?
I have faced handbag challenges before. An evening bag small enough to be elegant, but not so small you have to strap your phone to your thigh and make one tissue last all evening ? No problem.
Matching a bag to an outfit so it is just right and not too matchy matchy ? Childs play.
But now it was a case of go smaller.
Luckily I possess a smaller version of my black long handled bag.
(A rare recorded instance of a Sale purchase really being something you need)
What 2 take ?
What 2 jettison?
What about water? Not allowed that until after security apparently.
Perfume? That will have to go in the suitcase.
Keys? No car, no house to unlock. Leave ‘em. Couldn’t take penknife anyway. My Wallet is so plump. But a Boots card, assorted French loyalty cards, a Library ticket and some unspecified folded pieces of paper are surely not going to be missed? Some of these receipts are biodegrading .
A book. I’ll need a book. The flight is over an hour. Surely I will loose all reason without something  to read. I shall take this smaller change purse even though I know it means I will be condemned to tip all my loose change out in every shop I go into as it is impossible to see into it.
And so on.
The obvious things were simple. My mobile made the cut. Essential. And as loyal readers will know, a goto item in times of solitude.
It was the ‘will this emery board fit’ level of decision making that got on my nerves. Surely I could travel hopefully and wait until I arrive to apply perfume? It always evaporates instantly anyway. Tissues. Be a grown up and take little packets. It is not necessary to guesstimate how many you will need en route. There are serviettes and toilet tissue for emergencies. Yes you can manage without a book. Look out the window. Clouds are interesting.
Gradually a thought rose to the surface.
Just how much stuff have I been carrying around as vital for years?
Am I so thirsty that I have to carry water? What next?  Ice?
Do I really need to carry a cheque book anymore?
I discovered that being without certain items produced some interesting outcomes. Having no keys was like being a kid again. No car to unlock or park. Just standing and waiting to be let into the bolts, burglar alarms or security concerns. It was entirely possible to wait till I got home to put hand cream on. No sweeteners was easier than using sweeteners.
So there we have it. Using a smaller bag in the air and on the ground did mean constant ransacking, rearranging and swearing. But no backache. And I wasn’t thirsty or tissue less or noticeably unperfumed.
So far so good.
I shall finish on a sad but true fact.
Once on board the plane, I assumed that seatbelt straps had, like handbag sizes, got smaller.

Regret to report that it’s not the seatbelts that got smaller; it’s me that got bigger. 

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