Curse of the Purse

Men, thank goodness have wallets. Although they will swell to the proportions of a cane toad before exploding, they’ve nothing on the female purse.
The lady’s handbag or purse is a wonderful invention run-a-muck. Invented before pockets, the purse has a lineage and personality as unique as each owner.
First size. Most younger females can get by quite handily with a small grip, to hold the ‘necessaries’, like make up, keys, I.D.s and yes, even money. Not so the more mature matron, or Dona.
I think purse size starts to increase as motherhood bursts onto the scene. Partly as an unconscious response to increasing body size and definitely to and increasing need for ‘wet wipes’, soothers, squeaky toys, and other baby goodies.
The male on the other hand simply lets the parental gut expand outward and down over the belt. Soothers and teething toys are readily supplied by a greasy finger and as for wipes, what else are ratty old sweat shirts for?
But the purse is never given up. It simply grows and grows, as it expands to the size of a Pullman. I speak from a position of authority. Of whom I speak shall remain nameless, but when she, her sister, and her friends venture out into the mall on senior’s day, it looks like a whole gaggle of prehistoric hunter-gatherers with huge sacks out gleaning the countryside of every useful item. They all have permanent curvature of the spine and gimpy knees from subjecting themselves to decades of purse abuse.
Getting stuck behind one at the checkout is a real experience – if you’ve got the time.
“How much is it? Seventeen, thirty-three? Let me find my money.”
Open Sesame! The reluctant zipper opens in fits and starts, jammed by a lace napkin.
“Oh, I saved that from lunch at Chez Pierre’s. It was just too fancy to throw out,” exclaims the Purse Meister as the now shredded lace is cooed over, refolded and tucked back into the bag.
Then another napkin with a stain soaking through and a distinctly ripe odor surfaces. “Oh dear, there’s that piece of salmon, I saved from the buffet for Fifi last week. I guess I forgot about it. Here Dear, could you put that in your waste basket?”
Gagging only mildly, the clerk complies tossing it into the waste at the next checkout.
Next, the makeup is excavated. . . enough to prepare half the cast for a Hollywood epic. ‘Nuff said.
Finally the money. A $100.00 bill. That presents a problem. Nothing over $20 accepted smiles the clerk tapping the sign and explaining the problem with fake $100s.
“Oh, not a problem Dear, I’ve lots of coins here.” and another bag, a Crown Royal pouch, complete with draw string is extracted. Untying the knot takes less than five minutes.
This treasure of pennies, dimes and quarters, loonies and twonies not only explains why the Mint has an ongoing severe shortage of coins, it also reveals why foiled purse snatchers suffer from so many pulled back muscles and severe concussions. After collapsing from the unexpected weight of their snatched prizes, their skull is nearly crushed from a well aimed swing of the purse as it is retrieved by the offended Dona. Who said our currency has no weight?
Finally it’s down to the nitty gritty. “Oh dear, this is mostly my U.S. change and we may need it for the toll bridge next month. I’m 48 cents short. Would you pay Dear?” she says turning to a non-plussed hubby who extracts a twenty and refuses her help with some uneven change. The transaction is completed and re-stowing of the contents starts. The only hiccup is the still balky zipper causing the Dona’s fingers to slip off the clasp and thrust an escaping elbow into the solar plexus of the next customer in line who was foolish enough to get within range.
Profuse apologies follow with the unlucky victim able only to gasp and grimace while hurriedly shelling out their bucks and escaping to their double-parked car- the one the cop is busy ticketing.
Her purchase complete, the Dona rejoins the herd. Raul trails behind laden with bags.
“Come along Dear. Don’t dawdle!”
First published July, 2007

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