When My Husband Asked Me If I Really Needed To Bring My Handbag…

She reaches down into her bulging tote bag and pulls out a small plastic box with a hinged lid. It contains a round pill box with a threaded lid from which she tips out a vitamin pill, a fish-oil pill, and the enzyme tablet that lets her stomach digest milk. Inside the hinged plastic box she also carries packets of salt, pepper, horseradish, and hand-wipes, a doll size bottle of Tabasco sauce, chlorine pills for treating drinking water, Pepto-Bismol chews, and God knows what else. If you go to a concert, Bina has opera glasses. If you need to sit on the grass, she whips out a towel. Ant traps, a corkscrew, candles and matches, a dog muzzle, a penknife, a tiny aerosol can of freon, a magnifying glass – Landsman has seen everything come out of that overstuffed cowhide at one time or another.

Michael Chabon

Hey, Lovelies.

Yesterday we had to go to the Post Office, and to buy milk.

I took my handbag with me.

When we were finished, Ben asked me why I needed to take my handbag everywhere. He wondered why I couldn’t just take my wallet.

I explained to him that I needed my bag, because of the essentials. Bemused, he challenged me to turn my bag upside down on the floor and only put back what I needed. To do this I also needed to unzip some extra compartments.

There were some pens. And a small notebook. Everyone needs those, right?

A small tube of moisturiser. Cos, dry skin, ow. I use this all the time.

Lippy. Vanity, but still… Yep, I’m keeping that.

Aspirin, and anti-inflammatories, meds, water purifying tablets, bandaids, tissues, and some hair ties. Essential.

Nitroglycerin spray and heart tablets in case I get severe angina or arrhythmia – all in my ziplock bag labelled HEART.

Asthma puffer and emergency steroid pills in case I get an asthma attack that can’t be controlled – all in a ziplock bag labelled ASTHMA.

Facemask and hand sanitiser, plus spare mask, just in case. Cos COVID. Used almost daily.

A spare pair of underpants and yoga tights, and a pair of big girl pullups in a big ziplock bag because neurological incontinence, which could strike at any time, and the need for wee-wet pants and any sodden clothes to have a bag of their own for storage. This folds up to almost nothing. I can’t tell you how grateful I have been for this little kit.

Small kit of essential oils in tiny travel bottles. Innumerable uses. Used at least weekly.

A couple of herbal teabags – yeah, I could probably go without those, but they’ve been very handy from time to time.

Foldup fabric shopping bags, cos ENVIRONMENT. Used so often!

A couple of crystals. Yeah, I know…

Wallet, with money, house key, car key etc. And a lucky green plastic gecko I was given in a funky little shop in Sedona last year. (Man, that seems like LIFETIMES ago.)

Reading glasses. Sunglasses. A couple of little vials of dry eye lubricant. Phone.

Snakebite bandage. Maybe now I don’t live on the farm I could let this one go…

All of that stuff, except the snakebite bandage (which I’ve used once on my dog Charlie, and once on someone else) and the gecko (but hey, he’s my lucky charm), I have used at least a few times a year, sometimes I’ve used them many times, and a couple of times having this stuff has saved my life or bought me time to get to hospital or enabled me to carry on with my day, despite the unpredictability of chronic illness.

That’s my basic bag.

On top of that I often have my journal, and a laptop, and maybe a book I am reading.

If I’m travelling I’ll also have a shawl, and maybe a travel bag of medicines and toiletries. Sometimes a tiny jar of Vegemite.

I don’t have anything specifically for a sucking chest wound, but I could probably make do with what’s in this bag.

Meanwhile, Ben loads his wallet and keys in his pocket, and sticks his sunglasses on his head.

I remember when I used to live like that.

And I do have a tiny bag that I can sling my credit card, some cash, glasses, mask and sanitiser into.

But mostly, that bag comes with me, and I don’t mind carrying it, because inside that bag is peace of mind.

Is that crazy?
I’d love to know what you do!

Love, and voluminous handbags, Nicole xx

Hi! I'm Nicole Cody. I am a writer, psychic, metaphysical teacher and organic farmer. I love to read, cook, walk on the beach, dance in the rain and grow things. Sometimes, to entertain my cows, I dance in my gumboots. Gumboot dancing is very under-rated.
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13 thoughts on “When My Husband Asked Me If I Really Needed To Bring My Handbag…

  1. What no screwdriver? Yep I always carry a screwdriver….and yep I have had it and used it from when I worked in a Nursing Home. Although it was confiscated when I went to Family Court over my Divorce but funny thing they let me keep my long thin nail file….go figure???

    1. No screwdriver or wine knife or crochet hook or anything else that could get confiscated in an airport. But gee, that’s so far from my life right now that maybe I should throw that all back in!

  2. Hi Nicole … I had such a good chuckle at your handbag post … I think most women can relate to it. I certainly can. But it reminded me of our caravanning days. Hubby & I started caravanning when our youngest was a year old. As a family of four (along with our eldest daughter) we transversed South Africa during holiday time ~ all over this beautiful, diverse country. (Just as a quick mention, it’s amazing how many people haven’t travelled around their own country but have done so overseas … always boggles my mind). To return to the topic in question … I was totally responsible for packing the caravan for each of our holidays. I worked off a list pages long. Eventually, after a couple of years, I got wise & bought some duplicate items (kettle, toaster, plastic items, etc.) so that I didn’t have to pack & unpack the caravan in totality every time we went away. Hubby & the kids always teased me (lovingly) about how much stuff I packed but were always grateful when they needed something & mom had thought to pack it in. They’d ask: “Mom, how did you know we’d need it”? (pertaining to the item in question) and I would just smile and say “Because Mothers just know these things”. It’s why the female sex can multi-task 🙂
    As a footnote, I had to smile a few years back when my eldest daughter & I went shopping together. She saw me looking at her handbag and said” “Yes Mom, I’m getting older so have swapped the fashion-sized handbags for practically-sized ones”. I jus smiled. Thank goodness today’s fashion creates attractive large handbags 🙂
    May you always have a pretty handbag, Nicole.
    Love & Blessings, Sue xx

  3. My grandson(16) is sure my bag is similar to Mary Poppins bag .When my kids were small it was just as full and just the contents shifted.. once in search of lip balm I seized a familiar shape, only to draw half a sausage from my bag, much to the amusement of my friends.. ( not my sausage originally I would like to add)

  4. Tony Robbins does this exercise on stage to show the difference between most women & men … I can still see this women extracting one item after another, it was actually quite funny. I try to use a ‘bum bag’ & only today realised how much I could fit in such a small space!

  5. I have a big bag too. Not just for myself, my partner fought brain lymphoma last year and I am his full time Carer. So I carry the necessary change of cloths, meds, and sanitizers needed. I guess we women seem to be the ones that nurture. Wise medicine women. Hugs Cheryl

  6. Yeah, no snakebite kit here either, (but we do have rattlesnakes, so it might be handy!) Peppermint EO in case headache; bergamot in case frazzled nerves; eye drops because desert air; tiny knife for opening boxes at work; mini ‘Pinocchio’ measuring tape in case I find the perfect ‘thing’ and need to know the size will fit; Tums in case stressful day; phone charger in case the kids call and my battery is low (I can plug it in the car) and keep talking until they are done; drafting pencil and eraser if I want to draw something; bandages; other people’s house keys in case I have to feed a kitty or let them in because they locked themselves out….. lol…… It goes on and on. I used to carry more when I travelled around more, but now many of those regular needs are in my car where I might need them. Binoculars, compass, fire starter, sleeping pad, camp stove, fuel, etc. etc. One never knows when an accident on the highway may keep me in one place for a lengthy time. I just look at it as being able to take care of myself if necessary. 🙂

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