Table for One: The Big Green Pocketbook
Growing up, I owned a book called “The Big Green Pocketbook.” From what I can recall, the story revolved around a little girl who is coerced into running a bunch of boring errands with her mother, boring errands that are made awesome and fun by the fact that she’s got this fabulous green purse in which she collects souvenirs along the way. This story, or rather this pocketbook, had a profound and lasting effect on me.
Let me tell you, this bag was really exceptional—or at least appeared to be from the illustrations. Supple green leather, gold detailing. I wanted that bag.
Fast forward fifteen years or so. I’ve matured, as has my love of purses. I’m browsing a thrift store, and what do I find hanging amongst a knotted mass of rotting pleather handbags but a, nay, The, Big Green Pocketbook. A deep green leather bucket bag in gorgeous condition. And spacious! Room for so many souvenirs. Hot sauce packets, a spare set of chopsticks, a badminton shuttlecock, poker chips, a fat slice of coconut layer cake. A painter’s pallet for impromptu nude portraiture à la Titanic. A wilderness guide, should I ever find myself in proximity to a tree (unlikely!). A pair of clogs, in the event that I’m challenged to a clog-off (has happened, wasn’t prepared). The endless possibilities were mind-reeling.
This bag was… more than a bag. This bag was my destiny.
Naturally I didn’t have a dollar on me, so I went home and forgot all about it. That is until just the other day…
There I was, packed into the corner of an elevator in the 12th Street Lang building. And right before my very eyes, mere inches from me, was the bag. The Big Green Pocketbook. The bag I was destined to own. Which is why it was so terribly confusing to see my dream bag hanging from the slouching shoulder of a stranger.
Well friends, I couldn’t help myself. I just had to reach out and touch it. And touch it I did. I touched the hell out of that bag. Caressed it gently, longingly, discreetly in the confines of that crowded elevator car.
If only I could manage to slip if off her undeserving shoulder… I thought to myself. I bet she wouldn’t even notice its absence. It’s not “theft” if it’s rightfully mine…
The elevator dinged as the car reached the 5th floor and she stepped out, the bag still hanging from her shoulder. Every fiber of my being wanted to sink my nails into that buttery green leather and hold onto it for dear life, but alas, I was too late—the pocketbook disappeared down the hallway, the doors slammed shut. It was gone, and with it the promise that it held. As envy coursed through me like a poison, it occurred to me momentarily that perhaps it was unhealthy to assign so much meaning to a material object, especially a material object that wasn’t mine. But then I thought, No, no, don’t be absurd. It was a really great bag.
At least I can take comfort in the fact that the bag’s gone to a good home, by which I mean, of course, the home of a Lang student, a Lang student whom I will likely meet again someday when I’m ready to strike. Girl with the Big Green Pocketbook: you’ve been warned.