Monday, September 12, 2011

Lust, because "like" just isn't a strong enough word

No, not the kind of lust you're thinking. Get your minds out of the gutter, people.

A couple of days ago I was riding in a train and watching the girl in the seat facing me get her brand new handbag ready to use. I want her bag. It's beautiful. It's far too big, leather (and  therefore far too expensive) and far too blue. But I want it. This is unusual for me. I have always been a little purse girl. The smaller the better. I hate carrying the thing around. I love clothes with pockets. To be so attracted to an overly large (capacious, commodious, one step down from a steamer trunk) handbag is unlike me. I lust after this purse. I wanted to ask her where she got it, if I could hold it for just a moment to see how it felt. I was mentally filling it with my own things: wallet, keys, drawing stuff, spare inner tube, kitchen sink. I felt possessed for just a few seconds. Kinda scary.

It's very Italian, this big purse thing. And now, for the first time, I get it (sort of). Like many Florentine women I bike and walk everywhere. Even more women ride scooters. What they don't have is a back seat and a trunk to throw their things into, allowing them to carry a teeny-tiny purse. Like elegantly dressed pack horses, they must carry everything on their backs. The lucky ones have a small basket somewhere on their bike, but there is still the problem of where to put the stuff while they run into a store. Hence the large bags I see everywhere.

This troubles me because I thought I had reached a point in my life where things didn't really matter anymore. The purse that holds my wallet, keys, phone and nothing more should be adequate, but isn't. I rarely carry it. I'm almost always carrying something else, or going to pick up something. Leif has small backpack I use when he isn't using it, and I have a ginormous backpack I could carry. So I don't neeeeeeed a beautiful, big bag. Yet I want it. I could rationalize this by saying that it's high time I stopped looking like a tourist and started looking like a resident. I have been here almost a year now. Did I mention that this bag was not just large, that it is also incredibly beautiful?

But it seems like a slippery slope. It starts out innocently enough. The bag is necessary because I need to carry things. As long as I have to have the bag, it might as well be big enough for groceries and beautiful to boot. Then, to go with the beautiful bag, there will be shoes, then pretty clothes...and suddenly I won't be my Levi's and hoodie wearing self anymore. I'll have (gasp) outfits. I'll "do" my hair. Friends and family  won't recognize me anymore. The mind boggles at the potential changes purchasing a single bag could produce.

It's been a couple of days and the lust is still there. I have a plan. I'll start my usual shopping practice of looking around for what I want, waiting patiently for the perfect purse (at the perfect price) to appear. As this is usually a four to six month process, and I am only here for another three months, I think I'm safe. I'll either lose interest in the project or run out of time to find the right bag.

It's a win-win situation. If I don't get it I will have been strong and held to the principles I was raised with. If I get it I will have the most beautiful and useful bag I've ever owned. Tomorrow I start shopping.

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