The Lone Bag Lady

In Atlanta, I am usually the only person in a given room carrying a big bag. In my purse, I carry my GPS (which I don’t want to get stolen out of my glove compartment); a spare diaper and wipes for the kids; makeup; a bottle of water; a large wallet, packed full of receipts, discount cards and frequent flyer cards; a hairbrush; my phone; a notepad and pen; a book, and perhaps a magazine.

In London, because getting from my flat into the center of town took about 45 minutes, I used to to take everything I could possibly need throughout the day with me in the bag, to avoid having to go home.

Not only do women in Atlanta seem to carry far fewer things — they also feel comfortable leaving their purses/bags in the corner of rooms where they’re gathered.

At a baby shower tonight, I noticed a pile of purses lined against the wall. If you trust the crowd to refrain from stealing the bag, that would be a logical plan. My massive bag can get heavy. But coming from London, where I had my phone, wallet, bike and stroller stolen, I am perpetually paranoid that I won’t see anything I put down against the wall again.

But people here seem to get annoyed by my ever-present big bag. At a fund-raiser for my daughter’s school, another mom took it away from me, and put it on the floor in the corner. She told me it was too big to carry around all night.

I snuck back to get it when she wasn’t looking. While I appreciated her concern, I was not convinced that the bag would emerge without a glass of wine dumped over it. Plus, I wanted to be able to make a getaway from the packed cocktail party, without having to push my way through to the back to retrieve my bag.

If you always have your bag, you’re always prepared to leave.

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