A journey of discovery, via pocketbook

03/27/2014 1:06 PM

03/27/2014 1:07 PM

My best friend collects pocketbooks like I collect dresses, and she changes them like she changes outfits. I’ve seen her switch one out in less than a minute.

I’m the opposite: I use the same pocketbook every day until it starts to fall apart. Then I go through the painful process of converting to a new one, struggling to find the right place to put all eight pounds of its contents.

I had been putting this process off for weeks, but one recent morning I found myself running early, so I dove in.

It was awful. The new purse has three main sections, and as usual, I had intended to use the back section for a folder that holds printouts of news articles, studies, court decisions and other things I need to read, the middle section for the fatter billfold, makeup bag and diabetes supplies, and the front section for odds and ends. Only the back and front sections had smaller openings than I realized, and the folder wouldn’t fit in either, so I had to put it in that coveted, wider middle section. That pushed the fat stuff to the front section, which was far too small for it to fit comfortably, and that back section really didn’t work for the odds and ends because it made everything feel … well, backwards. But the now-emptied old pocketbook looked too shabby to return to, and there was no time to repack the new one — and it was futile anyway — so I left the house, in a foul mood.

You know how when you’re annoyed, every little thing is more annoying than usual? And the more annoyed you get, the more pronounced the effect? Yeah. That. All morning. Into the afternoon. I had already decided that if my friend complimented my new pocketbook, I was going to offer it to her. (She didn’t.)

Flash forward a day and a half. I’m leaving the office, and I find myself thinking: “I love my new pocketbook.”

Why the transformation? A simple thing, really. When I got home that first night, I picked up some more folders in the front seat that I needed to take inside and stuffed them in my pocketbook. Vertically, because it would have been too difficult to squeeze them in horizontally, like the one that lives there. And they fit perfectly into the tall pocketbook, without sticking out of the top.

A light bulb went on. I ran inside, pulled everything out, turned the permanent folder 90 degrees and slid it into the back section, standing up, put the fat stuff in the middle where I had intended it to go, and the front-section left-overs settled in comfortably.

Amazing, isn’t it, what a difference it can make when you look at something from a new perspective?

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