The Urban Lady’s Guide to Lugging All the Stuff Home…All of It
At this time of year, it’s tough to not overdress in the morning then end up lugging home a jacket with slightly sweaty pits and a damp collar. Cool till lunchtime then swiftly warmer through till supper. Even tougher to plan ahead and not end up with all the space in your bicycle basket hogged by shucked clothing layers, when there are tonnes of errands to run.
That said, it’s amazing what you can cram into a bread-box-size basket with a little planning and a clever combination of bungee cords and bags.
While shopping this afternoon for an outfit to wear to two weddings in early June, I pitched an internal tantrum over how simple it is for men to dress for special occasions without having to over-spend, owning two wardrobes, being crippled by tight shoes, smothered by pantyhose, or choked midway through dinner after swallowing two bites of food and using up all the space between your tightly packed internal organs, wedged together in unnatural ways by whatever unmanageable waistband or control-top underwear made it possible to wear that dress in the first place. But, when it comes to things in which to carry other things, ladies definitely have the upper hand. Take that rose-printed bag, for instance, which folds out to accommodate everything and the kitchen sink, but folds tiny enough to fit in the interior pocket of my purse.
My dry cleaner would be horrified at the wreck I made of her careful pressing job, by stuffing a skirt, two cashmere sweaters and a long-sleeved blouse into that rose-printed marvel.
And, she would be frankly grossed out if she knew those clothes were snuggled up against a stand of asparagus, some purple garlic, a pint of yoghurt, a sirloin, four chicken legs, a sweet potato (or is it a yam?) and two sausages (filled with pork and beef and seasoned with so much five-spice my whole apartment reeked by the time I finished setting up this shot).
I ran out of room and had to carry the other pair of sausage in my purse. I was worried they’d be crushed when I biked over the pot holes that riddle my street and which are impossible to avoid no matter how hard you try. Poor sausages, mashed between that yam (or is it a sweet potato…) and the things wedged in the basket underneath my groceries. Better to have a stinky purse than a ruined bag of meat. (Yes…that was disgusting, and I know it.)
Back to the crushing risk and decision to put the sausages in my purse safely away from the weight of other things. What other things? Well, things like the jar of honey I brought to the office to eat with my morning snack. It’s the best I’ve ever had and I ration carefully through winter until the apiary opens for business again late spring.
And, things like this photograph of an almost-A-Team van, which I took in Vancouver at least fifteen years ago, and which I used as a bookmark in a bad book I finally gave up reading today.
And, things like my two bicycle locks. It’s a shame people like to steal; it’d be really nice to just park my bike or latch it to the fence with a length of string, instead of spending as much on security devices as I did on the damn bike in the first place. It’s not a very big basket, so you might be thinking that’s all that was in there – groceries, locks, wieners and such. But no…not even close…
Remember the June weddings and my (admittedly petty, admittedly unfounded) freakout about clothes and how lame it feels to “shop”? All that melted away the moment I found what is quite probably the prettiest thing I have ever, ever slipped into.
…which I carefully hooked by the bag-handles so it didn’t get crushed on my way home. Looking back, lately it seems I’ve written an awful lot about clothes and shopping and fitting rooms and whatnot for someone who claims to dislike that sort of thing. Hmmmm.
And, padding the groceries and pretty new skirt and dry cleaning and bike locks and all the rest? Jeans, sweater, underpants, cosmetics bags, comfortable shoes for a long walk through the park, and a little plastic container that once held salad dressing and which has been hanging around my office desk for about three weeks.
That’s still far from all! Shoulderbag, book, handkerchief (allergy season started this week), phone, keys, tiny pocketknife and screwdriver for roadside bike repairs, tampons because even on days you don’t need one yourself, you never know when a ladyfriend might ask discreetly and it’s always polite (and good karma for days you’re forgetful yourself) to have something to share, lipstick, lip balm, grocery list, errand list, sunglasses, and security badge. Memory stick. Pen. Notebook, too.
Also, the numbers one through thirty-six. Well, most of them, at any rate.
Coffee cup (which I never got around to filling this morning, and which might explain where the missing numbers went).
And, this is the elegant pair of stockings and heels that pedaled all that stuff home.
(**apologies to the eight brave shiitakes I failed to credit in photo #5**)