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If the purse is the mirror to a woman’s soul, I’m afraid mine needs polishing. I dump the contents out on a tray and begin sorting. Ah, here’s my granddaughter’s missing barrette. Hmpphh! So that’s where I put the Map-quest directions. I could have saved myself five dollars worth of gas and a lot of frustration last week if I’d remembered I put them in here.

As I look at the pile, I marvel at how some women manage to carry those cute, tiny purses. Aren’t they afraid they’ll be caught without two Chapsticks, or their choice of three lipsticks? I place them back inside my purse, including the freebie I got which is an awful orange color but heck, it’s brand new and I certainly can’t throw it away.

It’s not that I want to suffer from “droopy purse shoulder”. But how can I leave the house without my supplies of aspirin, dental floss, nail files, allergy capsules (I don’t have allergies, but someone I’m with may need them), and anti-diarrhea capsules? Don’t laugh. I’ve helped out many dear friends in the past, and you may be running to me next.

The shopping pouch gets cleaned out next. Stuffed inside are coupons or scrawled notes such as “pick up photos.” This pouch also includes a magazine picture of a swimsuit that supposedly will hide my figure flaws (yeah, right), a pen cartridge which I need to replace, and a red earring to remind me to ask the department store if they found the mate which I remember laying on the dressing room bench after it fell off a month or so ago.

I couldn’t leave the house without Band-Aids, address labels, paper in case I get an awesome idea for a column, gum, chocolate, prescription sunglasses, an extra pair of reading glasses, cell phone, car and house keys, lotion, comb, a $50 traveler’s check that’s 6 years old and gives me a feeling of security, a calendar, tissues, moist wipes, artificial sugar packets, and a coffee packet in case I’m somewhere where I can’t get my caffeine fix.

Although it doesn’t seem logical to carry seven ear plugs since I only have two ears, they do come in handy for noisy motel rooms or places where the music is cranked up to ear-aching decibels, and what if I lost one or two or, um, five.

The last item on the tray is my messy wallet. I take a peek inside at the rumpled cards, some of which I know have expired, and decide I’ll save cleaning the wallet out for another day.

I look at the discard pile: an old cough drop, a linty mint, and three expired coupons. There, I think, hefting my purse high. Much lighter.

My husband comes in and I show him my organized purse. “Yeah, that’s great. So I need your keys to move your car.”

I set it down and look inside. I dig and dig and dig. He shakes his head. “I know they’re in here somewhere,” I mumble. Finally, I dump everything out. “Ah, yes, right here next to my contact case.”

“Contact case? You haven’t worn contacts for a year.”

I shrug. “Yeah, but if I start again, I’ll know where to find them.”

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