Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mildred-Age Crazy

I bought a really big purse today.  Really big.  And I'm not sure if I'm okay with it.

Sure, it's a Coach. A finely crafted leather bag, if ever there was one, and at a moderate price point. And of course it's in basic black...cuz I'm still just traditional and budget-conscious enough to realize that it goes with EVERYTHING. And yes, I can put my iPad in it, which should quiet the constant nagging fear I carry with me that I will leave the best birthday present EVER somewhere.

But it's large.  LARGE.

And it feels like maybe I've crossed over a threshold here.

When I was growing up, my Grandma Mildred carried a very large purse.  It was white, and as I recall it had many compartments, the way an old lady's purse does.  She kept her head scarves in there, for when her hair was freshly set. And a plastic rain bonnet for when it was raining. And empty Wonder Bread bags that she used in lieu of baggies (she had lived thru the Depression and was quite thrifty). I don't know what else she carried, but whenever I watched "Let's Make a Deal" with my Mom and Monty Hall would bargain with the ladies in the audience for totally bizarre items they might have in their purses, I always thought that Mildred would make a killing in that scenario. After all, this was the woman who cut bacon in half because it "made more."

So I found myself in the Coach store today, in dire need of retail therapy after an exceptionally emotional and grueling week at work (survived big layoffs and a re-org-- more on that at some point, I'm still digesting).  My current purse, while quite stylish in its own right, was beginning to seem too small for the things I find I now need to carry in addition to my wallet and a small make-up bag: Prescription glasses (in a large case) for meetings in which a projector is used or for driving at night; prescription sunglasses (in an even larger case) for daytime driving; asthma inhaler; random wads of Kleenex; iPhone; work badge (for admittance to building); Tums (for very recent onset of stress-induced acid attacks); various prescription meds...aaaaaand the extremely unglamorous list continues. I found that each time I needed to retrieve something from this purse, I had to take EVERYTHING out of it.  And on work mornings, when I'm speed-walking from the parking garage to the building in 5 inch stilettos while on a conference call juggling a Venti Starbucks, a briefcase and the purse that ate...hmmm, let's say Kokomo, Indiana...I can't play Tiny Purse Jenga. At least with my current number of arms.

In no time, I found a nice large black leather hobo bag that seemed to fit the bill.  I threw it over my shoulder picturing all the skinny Hollywood starlets and their giant handbags featured in the "Stars: They're Just Like Us!!" section of Us Magazine and stole a glance in the mirror to see how it looked. And you know who I saw?  Grandma Mildred. With a pretty decent dye job and stiletto heels...but Grandma Mildred nonetheless.

And you know what?  That pisses me off.  Like, A LOT.

I'll be 46 in three months.  This means I am sliding towards 50, which doesn't even seem possible.  Fifty?  That's a bad surprise party waiting to happen.  That's a Buick LeSabre. That's a character that Molly Shannon used to do on SNL, for Christ's sake.  But that for sure as hell IS NOT ME. I was supposed to be someone-- I was supposed to be a wunderkind, a child prodigy.  I was at least supposed to be a skinny starlet with a gigantic bag.

Long story short, I bought it.  I brought it home, placed it on the kitchen table and eyed it suspiciously all evening as it quite literally loomed largely in my peripheral vision.  And then finally I unwrapped it and started transferring the contents of my now super-chic and somehow young small purse into the giant old lady satchel I just had to procure.  I got everything crammed in and found myself thinking: Oh my God, I'm not sure this is big enough.

So tomorrow, I'm going out to buy a box of calcium supplements.  Quite frankly, I'm surprised they weren't "Free With Purchase of Large Old Lady Bag."  (Marketing genius?)  Not only will I be able to carry them in my new purse-- but they will help to prep my old lady bones for lugging around the next size in my journey toward Mildred-Age.

Plus, I think if I cut it in half, it'll make more.


  1. Loved it. more, more. My grandmother went shopping with Mildred!!!!!

  2. I really enjoy all your blogs...this last one upset me some because I'm thinking I could be your grandma...I'm not old enough yet...

  3. This will go down as an all time fav