Lost something? Live with a woman? Whether it’s a pen or a sock or a six-piece set of drill bits, there’s a good chance it’s fallen into that leather bound black hole she calls her handbag.
I emptied mine this weekend. If I’d taken a picture and asked you to identify whether it was the contents of a handbag or rubbish sack that I’d photographed, I doubt you’d have been sure.
We start our relationship with a handbag with such good intentions. We swear that never again will we scrabble about on the train station floor, hurling tights, Tupperware boxes and old gas bills over our heads as we desperately search for our Oyster card. With a new bag comes the opportunity for a fresh start.
But before the week is out we’ll have started accumulating. We’ll pop a sock we find behind the radiator in there with the intention of putting it away upstairs, or eat a Babybel and chuck its rubbery jacket in our bag because we can’t be arsed to go to the bin, and before we know it we’ve been carrying it around for a fortnight.
And if that’s how it looks after two weeks, imagine how it looks after a year. In my case the inventory reads something like this:
1. 10 out-of-date supermarket coupons. I should have got that 40p off baked potatoes when I had the chance.
2. One lone skin-coloured pop-sock. They look even more depressing on their own.
3. A small blue bouncy ball. Obviously.
4. 12 used train tickets. How else am I supposed to remember that I sat in seat 16A when I went to Sheffield in May?
5. Three nail varnishes. Used for antisocial, ill-advised nail painting on public transport.
6. The remains of an eyeliner. Sharpened so many times that the lid is now bigger than the length of the pencil
7. Four handfuls of receipts. Enough to document every item I have ever purchased.
8. Recipes ripped out of magazines. You and I both know I will never cook any of them.
9. A lip balm I got free with a voucher. I’ve never worn it. Candyfloss pink is really not my shade.
10. Hairbands. With a bonus knot of my hair attached to each one. Nice.
11. One earring. Its twin fell out on the District Line ages ago but I’ll never give up hope of finding it.
12. An umbrella case. I haven’t seen the actual umbrella since April.
13. A ‘Sorry you were out’ Royal Mail card. Dated June 2012.
14. Two pen lids. No pens in sight.
15. So many crumbs. The bottom of the bag feels like a sand pit.
16. A single Nurofen tablet. Although it’s been in there so long the writing now just says urofen.
17. A neatly folded empty Doritos packet. I like to hold my favourite memories close.
18. Enough tissues to soak up the Thames. And all the empty Kleenex packets they came in.
19. The snapped string and beads from a broken bracelet. I thought the earring might need some company.
20. The ‘Genuine leather’ badge that came with the bag. Good to be reminded that it’s a quality accessory that I’m ruining.
And now I’m back to square one again. Bag tidy, rubbish binned, good intentions at an all-time high. But I know that all it’ll take is a processed cheese or Pringles craving to see my standards drop again.
Well, if you must carry crumbs around with you, at least make sure they’re good ones.