Me at home looking at my beautiful purses and then putting them away again.
I know there are a lot of important troubles transpiring in the whole wide world, but I deleted Twitter from my phone so I don’t actually know what any of them are. I am one tiny inch away from deleting Twitter from my life altogether, except that it is the only way that I have communicated with a handful of beloved people, and I’m afraid of losing all contact. Nevertheless, I feel, in some kind of nebulous way, that the promise of social media is over for me. I probably won’t get off because it is now the primary way that I even find and talk to people. But the heart’s dream has died. I endure it now the way I face the laundry–bitterly, with vast and wide and deep recriminations against all the people who foist so much work and irritation upon me. It is no longer that delightful pastime, that way of distracting myself from the other less pleasurable portions of life. The dopamine rush has given way to the adrenalin one, which sensation I do not enjoy. And, in the spirit of leaving rage alone (which is the word I received on high for 2021) I must go look for some other more satisfying occupation. Which hopefully won’t be too impossible because of the time-tested delights of life that still remain–like standing in the kitchen at night, petting the cat, eating cold tater-tots out of the fridge when no one is looking, or scrolling through Amazon looking at purses.
Adrift in a sea of digital apps for every imaginable function, we often feel our needs are met better today than in any previous era. But consider the chatelaine, a device popularized in the 18th century that attached to the waist of a woman’s dress, bearing tiny useful accessories, from notebooks to knives. In many ways chatelaines provided better access to such objects than we have today: How often have you searched for your keys or cell phone at the bottom of a cavernous bag?
SO OFTEN. Oh my word I wish I could have one of these things, and the dress to go with it, frankly. One of the curious things about covid is that I have essentially stopped carrying a purse. I never used to leave the house without it, back in the day (January 2020), but then, when I couldn’t go anywhere for any reason, I carefully hung all my beautiful handbags in the wardrobe so they wouldn’t get spoiled, and there they sit. Now when I go out, I put my stupid bank card and ID in my pocket to keep my hands free to wander around whatever purveyor of worldly goods I have to endure in a mask, carrying everything “by hand.” The only place I use a cart is Aldi, and I don’t put anything in bags there, I just load it all in the back of my car item by item, drive home, and then shout at the kids to unload the car. It is very laborious, but the only way to avoid it would be to stop at Aldi for hours bagging everything up and I really don’t want to be in there that long. Where was I?
Oh yes, I don’t carry a purse anymore. What with the kindle app on my phone, I am no longer anxious about having nothing to read and so there’s not much point in dragging along a bag with a whole wallet or a lipstick or anything. No one can see my lips. And I shouldn’t be spending money anyway. This seems, to me, to be an excessively sorry state of affairs, a great poverty, like having to live in a clapboard house or wear jeans.
But that’s generally the trouble overall, though we are all very rich, yet we are all very poor. Though we live in warm, comfortable houses and are able to have almost anything delivered day or night, though we have the fastest ways of communicating with each other than at any other point in human history and have to wait for nothing and no one, yet we suffer a great poverty of spirit. This would be an ideal time, I suppose to discover what the poor in spirit have to look forward to, but I expect we are yet still too confused about everything. And now, if you will excuse me, I am going to paint my fingernails a bright red, for that is a pretty good color for a zoom call.