Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Bag Lady

When my father received this New Yorker in the mail, he held it up in front of me and said: "Look! You've finally made it on the cover of the New Yorker!"

I've done no such thing of course, as this illustration is the work of the fine artist Bary Blitt.

But I take my father's point. I'm a bag lady.

This reminds me of a conversation that I had with two friends the other day. One was lamenting that she always needed to carry a purse and a large bag to hold her things. The other, slightly older friend said something like: "Don't you know that in New York your bag is essentially your purse?"

I know of women who declare that they need nothing more than a small purse containing a tiny wallet and lipstick to make it through the day. I am not one of these people. I have to have a book (and these days a manuscript) with me, a knitting project in case I'm trapped somewhere boring, my electronic Japanese dictionary, toilettries, water, a flashlight (this habit started after the blackout), breath mints, a fan (in case the subway is hellishly hot) and . . . god knows what else. The problem is even worse on days when I go to dance class and have to haul around my dance gear.

I actually think that the point of the New Yorker cover is, as numerous fashion magazines and articles have declared, that this Fall is the season of the large bag.

I guess this means that for a brief period, my taste in accessories is going to be au courant.

Finally! Now I have a better idea of what everyone is carrying around. When I get on the subway, I am usually surrounded by people wearing backpacks stuffed to capacity. I can understand the small bag for lunch, ID badge, cell phone, magazine and maybe a laptop. But the backpack? I have been tempted on a few occasions to ask a bper if they are planning a 5 day hike up into the rugged Manhattan high country.
lucky for me your father didn't send the New Yorker cover to his sister -- a bag lady of long standing. I have no labels -- my standards are weight and pockets. Looks like you manage to handle that and style too.
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