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a purse by any other name (part 1)

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a purse by any other name (part 1)

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I don't think of the bag I carry as a "purse." In the abstract, I'd like other people to see it that way too, but I can't get that without making a nuisance of myself, and as it's just a personal semantic thing it's not worth it. My approach to a bag may not be unique, or even different from the standard uses for a purse, but it just doesn't feel the same conceptually to me.

The stereotypical woman's purse is a random jumble of stuff* - when I think about the concept, an MST3K joke about "a Velomint stuck to a Kleenex" comes to mind. I HATE that idea.

I have never yet had a bag I would consider to be 100% ideal. The last bag I had was 3/4 of the way there. The problems with it were that it didn't have quite enough pockets (though it was close), it had an incomplete divider (a strip of fabric sewn to the sides of the bag but not the bottom) and a crap design that caused the handles to rip off (they weren't sewn to the canvas foundation, just to the soft pretend-leather on the outside) at the end of May, three months after I had bought it.

Right now I'm carrying a temp replacement for that, a ditty bag that nekouken gave me (from his luggage set, I think). I organized it during my morning break today and it took 10 minutes - and it won't last, because it's just one opening and one huge pocket. It's better than nothing, and I'm trying not to spend money right now so I do need and appreciate it, but as compared to what I actually want, it's pretty awful.

When I have a bag that approaches my ideal, cleaning it involves removing any funk that's fallen to the bottom, putting any change that hit the bottom into the change receptacle, picking up any receipts that didn't make the wallet and pulling anything else I've put in temporarily - documents, purchases, souvenirs, whatever - that doesn't belong there. Everything has a place and it takes less than two minutes to restore order.

My ideal bag is:
--- a conservative color, probably black
--- sturdy - it should hold up to daily abuse for at least a year
--- divided into at least two complete compartments (and three would be preferable) with smaller dividers and/or zipper pockets
--- handles and a shoulder strap - removable is nice but not needed

* Sometimes I will put together a jumble bag for a short time, when I need a temporary assembly of stuff that is dissimilar from the usual day to day. A good example is last Saturday - when I went to Bristol Faire, I carried a big bag with wooden handles that doesn't look too technologically influenced... from at least ten feet away, anyway. It had my water bottle plus a spare (I'm always bugging people to drink water when I'm there), camera and phone in a ziplock (in case there were water bottle issues) sunscreen, my wallet (with many things removed and stowed more safely, in case the wallet went astray), cash, my car keys, a clean pair of underwear (I try to always keep one on me - you never know. Blame the French, it's their good idea, though I think I don't have quite the same reasoning behind doing it as they do) a hand fan and sometimes my glasses. That bag got emptied out when I came back home, though, and all the stuff put back in their proper places - and I didn't lose a thing, either, which is a huge issue for me and the only reason for the pain in the ass of carrying the thing in the first place.
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