Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Under pressure

You would think that with the current credit crunch, an impending historic election in the United States just days away and what impact the global financial retraction would have on Bermuda I would write about these important and timely topics.

No. I want to talk about the pressure I am feeling from ladies’ bag designers. Let me say from the outset I love bags. They are one of my passions. I take bags seriously as I believe they say a lot about the person carrying them.

I have travel handbags which must have certain features that make carrying them handy and non-cumbersome when elbowing 6’5” guys out of the way as my suitcase is carried away at warp speed by the luggage conveyor belts in the arrivals hall. The bag I travel with has to be big enough to carry my day to day items – 32 lipsticks, three nail files, a myriad of mints (you never know when you may have to offer one politely to the person next to you on a plane whose definition of oral hygiene may not be approved by the American or any other Dental Association), a wallet and various other items a girl can’t live without. Conversely the bag has to be small enough to look cute if you are going out to dinner with friends and family members whom you haven’t seen for months, years or indeed ever.

So I have this cute black bag I took to Omaha with me. I tend to use it exclusively for travel. However this time around for some reason upon my return I didn’t switch back to my day to day bag. The bag is great; It is divided into five discrete areas if you include the little flap at the back and the two pocket areas in the front.

It also has various tailor made pockets for a cell phone, lotion, iPod, credit cards and another cell phone (some people carry two – as I did for two years). These pockets have caused me to become a little anxious in that there are so many I am feeling pressured to not only use them all but to use them correctly.

Two things are driving me nuts – am I using the pockets for the right items and what do I do with the pockets that I don’t have anything to put in. I have figured out where my cell phone and other crucial items should reside and I didn’t realize how anal I have been about these compartments until I was in a meeting recently and reached for a pen (which has its own little slot). As I took it out and saw in my haste to leave the house I had put a few items in the wrong areas. I could hear the person leading the meeting still talking so I quickly started taking pieces out of my bag and discretely placing them on the table in front of me so I could return the items to their logical space.

I was doing okay until I realized that there hadn’t been a sound in the room for about 45 seconds. I glanced up as I reached for the remote control to the radio in my office (there is a long story about why I was carrying it around with me) and realized that everyone was looking at me expectantly. I must have had a blank look on my face because the person next to me whispered that it was now my turn to talk. With half a dozen items still in front of me I had to quickly think of a graceful way to get out of what could have been a potentially embarrassing situation.

Anyway, to get back to my purse. During that meeting I realized that I was feeling pressured (and perhaps a little intimidated) by bag designers to get it right. I don’t like that feeling but I like being organized. I have to find a mental and emotional space where I can let my natural inclination to have an orderly purse, which leads to an orderly life, which leads to an orderly world overcome the self-imposed need towards being a semi-perfectionist and accept that there are no right or wrongs when it comes to purse order and organization. Although if the pockets were labeled …

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