Well, Shoot. I Bought a Suitcase.

I didn’t mean to, but my little handbag has been driving me crazy for so long that I overreacted. I love a big handbag with lots of compartments, but the one I had was small and all one opening. Maybe I should have put up with it more gracefully, but a woman’s handbag is such a big part of her life, isn’t it? It goes with her everywhere, and while it may not be her home away from home, when she’s at work for forty hours a week, it’s her financial-center-and-health-and-beauty-aids-counter away from home, anyway. And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s when my financial center is on the health and beauty aids counter, so when I kept having my hairbrush fall out when I was checking out of a store, I thought I’d lose my mind.

We had our tax refunds coming, and I was determined to get a handbag that I loved. I had it pictured in my mind: a capacious, brown leather bag with a shoulder strap and lots of compartments—just the right compartments to fit all of my belongings. After trolling around on the internet for a while, I asked several people for recommendations of the very best places to buy purses, and one of my colleagues said to try Wilson’s Leather. Lo and behold, there is a Wilson’s Leather in the outlet mall in the next town!

Last Friday was drizzly and warm, and I made my way down to Smithfield after work. I went straight into Wilson’s Leather, heart full of hope, and searched through racks and tables of purses for the bag of my dreams. There were tiny clutch purses, tote bags, and everything in between. For some reason, purple and mustard yellow leather are really in style, as are copious gold studs and really ugly stitching. After a great deal of scrounging, a staff member came over and began searching with me, which is a ridiculous thing to do, when you think about it. She went over all of the tables that I had just covered, except that now I had to explain why I did not like each and every one she held up, which just made me seem picky and cranky. I started apologizing for not buying them.

Finally, I found a beautiful bag on one of the wall displays, on the bottom shelf near the back. It was the right size, the right color, and had lovely compartments. Unfortunately, it did not have a shoulder strap. I searched inside for a detachable strap, but no. I do not want to carry a bag around on my arm. It makes me feel as if I were Queen Elizabeth. Plus, it’s so inconvenient. Behind that bag, though, was a larger bag, in a more reddish leather, with all the compartments a woman’s heart could desire. It did have a shoulder strap, and it could actually fit on the shoulder without the extra strap. I hesitantly looked in the mirror to see how big it was, and decided that it was really too big. I asked the clerk for other stores that sold handbags, and left.

I went to the two closest stores, and their bags looked terrible compared to the ones in Wilson’s Leather, so I ventured back to Wilson’s, talked to the clerk again, picked up both bags, and decided that I really couldn’t live without a shoulder strap or with a bag that’s too big. I went out to my car and drove around the mall, looking for other stores that might sell handbags. I found a shoe store, parked and went in. While I rifled through their bags, the clerk told me that none of them were leather. I left and tried to call someone at my house to get the phone number for T.J. Maxx, to see if they were still open, since they’re 45 minutes in the other direction. No one answered. I sat in my car for a few minutes, and then walked back into Wilson’s Leather. “This time,” the manager grinned, “you can’t leave until you buy something.” I agreed that I’d take the bigger bag. It’s not too big, I thought. It’s just larger than I expected.

ImageWhen I got home, both of my guys let me know that, yes, it is enormous. David wanted to know if it was actually luggage. Michael said, “Well, that’s… large.” I said that I would be able to fit whatever I wanted in it, like a book. He said, “Or a refrigerator.” They did not let up. The next morning, I told David that I was depressed, and he said, “I understand that you have buyer’s remorse.” I wailed, “It is not buyer’s remorse! I love this bag! You guys are just so mean!” But I admitted that I was going to have to buy another, smaller one, since this one, um… doesn’t fit in the drawer where I put my purse at work. In my defense, I did take it to church on Sunday, and one of the ladies exclaimed, “I love your bag! Where did you get it?” She actually wrote down the name and location of the store, and is going to go there herself. So there.

ImageSunday afternoon found me at T.J. Maxx in Garner, hating all the bags there. By this time, though, I had all of my usual purse stuff, plus a hardcover book and a bottle of water in my new handbag, so it was putting about 25 pounds of weight on my shoulder. That gave me some motivation to find something smaller. Eventually, it was David who picked up a bone-colored purse off the display table and started unzipping and unsnapping all of the openings, saying, “Look! I think this one even has enough compartments for you.” I wasn’t crazy about the color, but everything else was perfect. That night, I put all of my stuff into the smaller bag, and everything fit. Not only that, but the bag fit into my drawer this morning at work.

I still love the overnighter, though.

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