Posted in Randomy Goodness


I don’t wear black eyeliner. I’m too old for Saturday detention. Yet as I left for work a recent morning, I called myself Allison.

I was Allison Reynolds from The Breakfast Club, carrying too much shit in my bag, so much that I had to turn sideways to get my big-ass bag out the front door. I vaguely wondered why it felt heavier recently, but with other things taking my attention, I didn’t think to check.

Apparently things creeped in and never creeped out.


Since you asked, I’ll tell you.

It begins with my floral lunch tote, which holds: a Ginger Ale in case of belly upset (oh, adulting!); an extra water because I could get extremely thirsty and I’m not a camel with on-body storage (no bottled at work and I don’t trust their tap); my morning applesauce because I wake with the least amount of time possible before leaving for work because sleep and I are BFFs; a frozen pretzel in a brown bag that thaws as I sit down to work; a mid-morning snack because the applesauce and the pretzel isn’t enough to get me to lunch; and a Hawaiian Punch because it’s delicious and sometimes I want it. You know what’s NOT in my lunch tote? LUNCH. I go out almost every day (or speed home for a quick bite).

You’re thinking ‘isn’t there a refrigerator at work?’ Yes, but it’s small and hogged by others.

Then there’s my purse, a small bag which holds: a tiny notebook and pen (hello, writer!), my reading glasses, my sunglasses, a tampon, some bandages, and Advil. It also carries my wallet, which is the length of paper money (which I never carry) and holds plastic money, quarters (I don’t know why — nothing takes quarters anymore), and two ponytail holders (in case one is stretched and breaks upon using it) to rescue a hair-in-the-face emergency.

The purse with little in it and the lunch tote can’t fill my LARGE tote, you say, so what else is in there?

  • A carefully rolled black maxi skirt
  • A pair of fluffy warm socks
  • A pair of thinner adorable Hello Kitty socks
  • A pair of underwear
  • *checking* Three tampons
  • Two more ponytail holders
  • A pack of Wet Ones Big Ones hand wipes
  • A Halo portable cell phone charger
  • Several pens
  • A small brush (see: ponytail holders)
  • An umbrella
  • Arby’s and McDonald’s and Burger King coupons I’ll never use
  • 1/3 of a roll of toilet paper

According to Allison, one never knows when one will have to jam, hence the items (of course, she wants to run away, which I don’t). So then you quote Andy and The Brain: then WHY do you carry so much shit in your bag?

I carry the hand wipes because the world is a germy place, people, and I frequently eat with my hands (see: pretzel). The pants / skirt / underwear are in case of a tragic Hawaiian Punch spillage or some other accident, but they could live in the car. The socks are obvious (in case my feet get cold — duh), but the warm socks should be put away since it’s spring. The charger, a tiny necessity, should be in my purse.

The tampons — I swear they multiply on their own. I’m amazed at how many are in various bags (that used to happen with me and $5 bills, when I carried cash). Of course, in the bathroom, I think I’m out, but really they’re just scattered in my tote, my purse, and, like, 10 other bags I’m not using.

I saw your eyebrows raise at the toilet paper. This, my father taught me. Wise man. It has saved me more times than I can count. If I hadn’t learned that from him, having visited a women’s restroom once would have clued me in. It’s almost impossible to get even a single sheet off the roll, no matter how hard (or not hard) you pull. Or there IS no toilet paper. Also, women’s restrooms are notoriously dirty (I’ll spare you the dirty details of a Restroom PTSD-inducing episode).


I shall whittle as much as I can and prevent excess stuff from landing — and staying — in there again. Only what’s necessary. I’ll still carry my lunch tote and my purse to work every day in the large tote, though. With both necessary bags in one big bag, my hands are free to carry my tea and to lock/unlock doors. But my shoulder won’t ache, and I’ll be able to walk out the door facing front, without getting stuck between the door jambs.

It may sound weird — to carry bags in a bag. So be it. What can I say? Allison and I totes dance to a different drummer.



I'm a writer who loves to laugh and smile. :-)

8 thoughts on “Totes

  1. I’d forgotten about Alison and her bag. I can see a resemblance, hers to yours. I have what I call my car purse, which is a Lands End canvas tote that leaves the house with me and then stays in the car for the day. It’s filled with snacks, bottled water, coupons/lists, and extra gloves or sandals, depending on season. Then I have my purse which has my wallet, phone, sunglasses, tissues, pen and phone in it. It goes where I go during the day. My umbrella + tampons stay in my car all the time, unless I sense that I’m going to need them. My system is similar to yours, but not quite as extreme as Alison’s. I cannot imagine how any woman could survive without a tote + a purse. Just saying, no disrespect intended.


    1. Glad to know I’m not alone (as the song she dances to says… *musical interlude* We are not alone! You’ll find out when you’re cover’s blown we’re really not so different after all…..).

      I used to leave some items in the car as you said. I took them out when I took the car in for service. That’s part of how they ended up in the tote. The rest not usually in the bag(s) — coupons, receipts, 7,000 tampons — just brainless for a while during emergency-adjacent times. *le sigh* I’ve whittled the totes down some. I shall leave some items again in the car. Ahhhhhhh.


  2. Sorry, Tara, my commenting thing went wonky on me yesterday, so I couldn’t get through. I loved this purse post of yours! I nod my head in agreement. I can see a use for all the things we keep in our purses/totes/bags, as you never know when an emergency might come up! I’ve done the same with putting smaller bags into larger ones. Oh, those public toilet paper holders are the devil! I once actually destroyed one trying to get some paper out of it! haha! Thanks so much for such a fun post. 🙂


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