A pink taxi

A pink taxi

April 5, 2011

Empty Your Bag:

My kids scavenge for chewing gum through my handbag even though I tell them it is rude. Chewing gum is the only candy allowed on a regular basis and they look out for the colorful Mentos or anything that isn't "spicy". I only carry essentials and have nothing to hide really as I don't have cigarettes or lighters. But what I do carry, because considered essential, is a true reflection of my mood that day and also of my diet.

Diet? Well yes! If I am not on a diet, my husband could swear that I carry the whole cookie jar with me. At coffee time, his pals will watch me offer them a large choice of delectables. If I am on a diet, I replace the cookies with Special K and Nutribars. I always answer negatively to the barrista who tries to sell me a stale croissant or a calorific muffin. If I am committed to a severe protein diet then I don't carry any of those supposed sugar loaded bars. Instead, condiment to my skinny cappuccino are dates and almonds.

I always carry almonds in my bag. Fortunate if my pile of refined, super-organic, handpicked and shelled Yemeni almonds is not depleted, I carry the treasure of seed-sized almonds in a ziplock bag. Otherwise I resort to big old American ones. "Why do you buy those?" asked my inquisitive spouse. "What, do you think Yemeni almonds grow on trees? ...well they do actually, but they are rare."

As a safety blanket, I will always carry two to three LeMonde issues, wilted, coffee stained and long time expired. I can take an issue out at any coffee break, under any palm tree while waiting for the kids to be released from school, at my son's swim practice or outside my daughter's ballet class or on the beach while my youngest plays on the monkey bars. I rarely finish an issue in one sitting, sometimes leave an article mid-sentence and pick it where I left it on the next occasion.

I have carried my Franzens, my Agassi biography, my French classics. I am eager to fill my bag with their weightlessness. It may sound like I carry my kitchen sink in my bag and yet they are the bare necessities!

Post Scriptum: This post was written prior to reading a vignette in LeMonde about Women and Their Handbags. It started with the French expression: "Vide ton sac" which translates literally as "Empty your bag" but means "empty your heart". It does indicate the importance of the bag and its contents. In my case, the article itself was nested somewhere in my bag, confined to a wrinkled copy of my favorite newspaper.

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