LOOK, just because I mentioned a purse in this column on Saturday, it doesn’t mean I carry one.
This is important to me. I am not the kind of bloke who carries a purse. Nor do I mean to imply that blokes who carry purses do so to keep their lipstick in.
What I mean to imply is that blokes who carry purses are… well, suspicious. There’s a spirit of unhealthy fastidiousness about the carrying of purses, despite the fact that it stops small change wearing a hole in your pocket. It speaks of a breed of psychological tight‑fistedness.
There’s a difference between mental tight-fistedness and physical tight-fistedness. People who are mentally tight-fisted pull their mouths into cats bums whenever someone mentions body parts. One doesn’t talk about “pursing your lips” for nothing. They’re the kind of people who pull coins from their purses one at a time, between finger and thumb. You could say they have a kind of purse-imoniousness about them.
And anyway, the idea of carrying a purse is as absurd as the idea of a marsupial having a litter of young – there just isn’t enough room.
A purse is a complete waste of space. I don’t know what happened to me. I used to pride myself on travelling light. Toothbrush, clean shirt, clean knickers and I could travel anywhere. Nowadays I carry more baggage to work every day than I carry on a four-week trip to Europe And what’s more, I use it less!
The rot set in when I was still at school, with my first school satchel. On the first day, I remember, it contained one text book, one exercise book and a pocket chess set.
Long before I reached twelfth grade the bloody thing weighed more than the anchors they use to hold the QEII in place.
It contained every text book I’d ever owned in my life, various sharp implements for torturing first year kids, and food. I only ever opened it to take out the food and the torture tools. The books would moulder in the dark inner chambers of this satchel for months on end without ever being touched, but still I used to drag the damn things an hour to school and an hour back like a ball and chain.
There were days when I thought the weight would kill me. A little knowledge may be a dangerous thing but a lot of it can be lethal.
Nothing has changed. Every year someone buys me a new bag for Christmas. It started with a briefcase. The trouble with a briefcase is that it’s too rigid. When it’s full – it’s full. So some-one gave me one of those shoulder bags with lots of zip pockets and press-stud compartments.
I have filled them all. Don’t ask me with what because I haven’t looked in any of them for months. I’m sure it felt important and responsibly businesslike at the time.
I don’t know where I’ll go from here. The only thing that could hold more would be a string bag, but if you think I’m travelling to work with the chaos of my career exposed through the holes of a string bag — a very large string bag — you can think again. I have my pride.
The only alternative is a truck. Well, maybe a car, but it would have to be station wagon. A big one.
I know what I should do. I should dump the entire work bag in the garbage bin. Unopened. I haven’t needed anything in it for 12 months. I probably won’t miss any of it now. I could return to those carefree days of the past when the day’s requirements could be carried in a wallet.
The trouble with wallets of course, is that they’re not designed to carry lipstick.
If one wanted to, which I don’t.