This I Believe

Jacquelyn - Houston, Texas
Entered on March 31, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe in the Perfect Purse. Though I have never seen it, I believe in it, have searched longingly for it, clinging to my conviction that it exists, somewhere.

Many times I thought I had found it, only to discover yet another black leather bag was not the real thing. Black leather was the manifestation of the Perfect Purse, black leather unadorned. No gold buckles, zipper tabs, or hinges that might speak of wealth, or simply say for its owner, Look at me, I’m dressed up. I’m not wealthy, I don’t dress up, so no gold.

More important than what it would say, however, is what the bag would do. It wouldn’t need to tote things for all people, all situations, a miscellany of bandaids, aspirin, brushes, breath mints, chewing gum, sunglasses, Tampons, H20, glue, tape, pens (maybe just one), pencils, markers, or address books with the phone numbers of friends who were friends fifteen years back. What, then, would it carry? I emptied the meager contents of my current bag—requisite staples: money; credit and debit cards; i.d. cards—driver’s license, health insurance, emergency auto service, library, grocery store; two pairs of glasses, reading and distance; tissues; keys—four, to be exact; knitting project; poetry book. The glasses if I suddenly had to remove my contacts, the knitting and poetry for aggravating times stuck in traffic or a line at the drive-through bank.

Why did bag after bag fail? What was perfection’s acid test? Well . . . if the Perfect Purse is one of my core beliefs, No Rummaging is my modus vivendi. Having to dig deeply into a commodious bag to ferret out some oddment is disagreeable; I must be able to lay fingertips on an item in three or four seconds. So a purse must be well-equipped with pockets and divisions, compartments strategically located, variously capacious and compact. No Rummaging and . . . no fumbling. And no frou-frou feminine style; no fringes or frippery. Quiet strength and utility should be its hallmark.

Despite my diligent searching for the P. P., all attempts had failed. There was no shortage of near-misses, but perfection eluded me. Undaunted, I continued my quest.

By now you are probably saying to yourself, Hey, lady, get over it! A purse? Are you kidding me? Maybe you’re right, maybe it doesn’t warrant such an expenditure of words. However, the Perfect Purse is, as you may have intuited, merely a metaphor . . . for my Life.

The Truth about the Perfect Purse, or Life, was revealed to me when I was diagnosed, at an advanced age, with ADHD. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition I didn’t think I believed in, but I won’t debate it. It was such a useful diagnosis at a time when wit’s end was where my few remaining wits were languishing. With the diagnosis came a realization: I had lived each day thinking the next one would be Perfect. Tomorrow I’d be able to do what I hadn’t done today—sit still, focus, accomplish. I cried a little over years of wasted time. Then I moved on, stopped looking towards tomorrows, maximizing, instead, little fifteen minute stretches.

I know better, but I can’t shake my belief—beliefs not necessarily rational—in the Perfect Purse. For now, I have one so close as to be a Virtual P. P. I’m content, carrying a beige canvas bag, well-appointed pockets and divisions assuring I don’t rummage or fumble.