Allison Reynolds: You have problems.
Andrew Clark: Oh, I have problems?
Allison Reynolds: You do everything everyone tells you to do and that is a problem.
Andrew Clark: Okay, fine, but I didn’t dump my purse out on the couch and invite everyone into my problems.

I love Eighties movies and I really love The Breakfast Club, so imagine my glee at the opportunity to role play just a bit and invite you all into my bag… Problems? I don’t know, probably just the garden variety ones… but sociologically, what a lot to learn there is from a bag. Or is there?

It's my bag
Start with the basics:

  • What kind of bag: Mine is a messenger style bag, I think. Sort of like a slouchy, post-man’s shoulder bag. It is made of canvas with an original Hong Kong designer’s print of old fashioned Hong Kong mail boxes.
  • Where from: I bought this bag with my first paycheck from my new job after returning to HK, I had wanted a bag from this shop Goods of Desire (known here as G.O.D.) for nearly a year, but had not seen a reason to spend the money on it when there are such decent cheap bags everywhere in the markets. It wasn’t even that expensive
  • Cost: HK$480, or US$61.32. Re: my comment above, I know this is not a lot to spend on a bag… but consider how cheap everything else here is and you will see my dilemma.
  • Frequency of use: Everyday. I wish I had the patience to switch bags all the time for outfit synchronicity and such, but I cannot be bothered. At least this is a multi-colored bag and matches most of my limited HK wardrobe (not that that is much of an issue in HK anyhow…)
  • Features/benefits: It is big and soft so can smoosh into places, sometimes acting as a pillow. It has a zipper pocket on the outside which I find handy for things like my phone and such. Also two front pockets for make-up and things like lotion and handi-wipes.
  • Drawbacks: It is big and so sometimes it is way too heavy. It is big and so sometimes things got lost. Things could fall out of it if I were on an upside down roller coaster because except for the one zipper pocket it’s enclosures are all snap flaps.

Move into the area of contents:
Welcome to the jungle.

  • Biggest item: My folder that holds paperwork for work.
  • Smallest item: I think there is a small star shaped earring in there somewhere, but the smallest item that is supposed to be in there is more likely… a 256 mb memory stick thingy.
  • Most frequently used item: iPod (black, 80Gb… I love this thing) and tweezers (hey, my mom is Arab, I am destined to a life of tweezing)
  • Most frequently ‘missing’ item: Cell phone (Nokia something or other definitely not cool enough by HK standards… it only makes calls and takes photos and does email and sms and alarms and calendars and …. I don’t know), I use it only for calls and texting and the odd emergency photo.
  • Most impractical item: My bag of 29 fine point Sharpies. I say impractical only because people find this to be a strange thing to lug around. I love them almost as much as my iPod and use them all the time. I have 29 colors from which to choose for any purpose (as Sharpies are good for everything) and they are in a really cool bag I bought in Lao for ten cents. I think there is also a mechanical pencil in there and another usb flash disk.
  • Most ‘this really says something about me’ item: Happy Bunny notebook that says “It worries me how dumb you are.”
  • Item that should be used more: My datebook (I have not graduated to Blackberry status and should be more careful about writing things down.)
  • Item that should be used less: My ATM card. Enough said.

And then, the inventory, which I am going to attempt to list without explanations:

Zipper Pocket: Pocket caluclator; tissue with blotted lipstick; black UniBall pen; business card from Wing Ching Cheung Frame Maker; mints in a tin that says San Francisco Peppermints with a cable car on it; receipts from Park-n-Shop grocery store; free enlargement coupon from Kodak shop; one packet of Extra peppermint gum (pellets); pocket mirror; Tempo moist cleansing paper hankies (I really hate the word moist); a letter from my friend Amy who just moved to Germany to have a baby with her German boyfriend who she met in Taiwan; an invitation to the opening of a friends jewelry store in Central HK; ear bud covers for iPod headphones; cell phone; one black hair tie; receipt for new Chinese BBK dvd player (HK$399); silver toe ring; HK$1 coin; key ring with HSBC security device and San Francisco t-shirt key ring.

Front pocket #1: Body Shop mango lip butter; Shu Uemura eyelash curler; Sunnydaisy loose tri-color eyeshadow (golds); Smashbox eyeshadow in Tint; MAC lipstick (Coconutty); Lancombe mascara (it clumps); MAC eyeshadow brush; Body Shop clear mascara; Urban Decay eyeshadow (Smog); MAC lip pencil in Spice; Tweezerman tweezers; my favortie ring from Thailand, which got smashed into an uncomfortable oval.

Front pocket #2: One bottle of ibuprofen; Crest glide dental floss; Visine; two o.b. tampons; one large hairclip; two small silver hoop earrings; one small, silver star, stud earring; one used Oral B plastic toothpick.

The Big Mamoo: One paper folder containing lots of useful work info, which I never look at outside of work; Happy Bunny notebook with various receipts inside; Canon Powershot A560; bag of Sharpies; datebook with passport and bankbook inside, along with assorted business cards; eyeglasses; iPod; one single paperclip; a usb cable; my wallet (containing not as much cash as I would like; a ferry schedule; several random receipts – why do I keep these? A free Super Big Gulp coupon, good only in the States; a photo of my best friend completing the La Jolla Half Marathon; my HK id; my Nevada drivers’ license; AmEx; two atm cards; a video rental card; and discount cards for the grocery store, pet store, coffee shop and the bar at the ferry pier.)

I am not sure about the relationship between our psyches and our bags… But I have a bunch of new questions about myself… why the receipts? why so many eyeshadows when I rarely ever wear any? why the illusion of working at home? why not more cash… ah ha, it must be the receipts! Well, file that one under mysteries solved…

Amanda, contemplating cleaning out her bag in Hong Kong