Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's a Matter of Size

It is difficult getting down the sidewalks of New York. Surely. East side West side, all around the town.

But just when you thought you got used to all the horrors, the tourists walking arm in arm in three generations of familial fear and hubris, the guys with the pants halfway down their legs walking side-to-side, as if they are crabs, barely budging forward and proud of their style-over-efficiency, or the poor elderly slobs, male and female, who simply stop at corners and stand there, lost, you have to face the leather and not so leather goods.

It’s these purses. Why are they so huge? These women, they are very thin because of all the walking they do carrying bags that weigh fifty pounds. It’s amazing exercise…but this is the problem: the bag, made of hide or vinyl or brilliant cloth and certainly lots of coated metal rings and straps flapping it all together, is the size of an entire adult female torso or my desk. And how does a woman counterbalance this sucker slung up on her right shoulder in order to fly forward? She uses her left arm as a pendulum swing. Her horizontal diameter now becomes as long as her vertical.

And let’s not forget about the torque.  Just as the Scrambler, that cheap thrill ride of youthful carnivals, was a heavy car at the end of a pole moving briskly, forces are felt. Strong ones. To a walking woman, with a purse the size of Dothan, Alabama, this torque acts strongly against her will to walk straight. So with that left arm still flailing, the Mt. Zion bag pulling and heaving, the forward moving vector is disturbed into sideways motion, and though the female will is strong, it cannot help our lugging doyenne from forming a repeating S-curve in her gait so that she carves out most of the sidewalk. The S-curve is the body stabilizer.

I see it every day. But tonight, a tall woman with very short, soft hair with a bright white top on and black slacks hugging her ass so I could see that the bottom of her left cheek had a much greater divot than the right, was walking in such an aggressive S-curve, with such a mace of a bag, that as people approached her, they could not help but either block her way (since she was taking up all ways) or get pulled right into her centripetal field much like a leaf into a whirlpool. She looked like a young David Bowie, this possible waitress, possible high fashion model. Her aggressive anger was kind of thrilling and made me want to pick a fight with myself (okay, with her). As small Hispanic men got in her way she crossly dressed them down with a LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING. She was a bruiser. She wanted it all. She wanted to fight and she had the purse-boulder to give her the force she needed to do it.

This was the most extreme example of the purse-planet that I have witnessed. Parlaying the effects of her bag physics into a weapon and pretending the problem of this mammals-colliding-on-earth experience as she boinked and weaved was caused by the inconsideration of others, is certainly something one could accept as a sad, sideways case of convenient dissociative fugue. But that requires compassion. And who are we? Jesus? She was anger justified for no reason. Maybe from history. I wanted to ask her if she was an incest survivor or simply had a bad shift at the Stardust Diner. I did not. She trundled south. I went east. I was glad to be rid of her.

We all have to get somewhere. Why can’t we just be efficient about it? Keep a slim profile and if we are loaded down with a locker-sized amount of personal belongings, maybe assume some responsibility?

On another note: what the fuck are in these huge bags and why do women want them? Aren’t women disadvantaged enough competing against the other sex, with their inferior muscle mass and shorter legs? Why add a camel hump of consumer goods in a dead cow bag to force you into a frightening, manic S-curve of a walk that tries to scoop up all comers? The straightest distance between two points is a straight line. Ladies, it is time for emancipation: Get rid of that purse-town, and everything in it.

1 comment:

Tandava (Carol Henning) said...

For myself, I have never understood the need for these $5000 shoulder-mangling atrocities. Why on earth is an ugly bag a status symbol?

As to the size and need for the bag... well, in that regard I am an offender, and can frequently be seen bouncing around sidewalks with my nondescript overstuffed backpack (kinder to the shoulders, but one must beware of developing a kyphotic dowager's hump).

There is all kinds of symbology to be had regarding purses and wombs and such, but it started as a practical issue: We needed someplace to put our wallets and makeup and tampons and it just grew from there.

Like many women, I carry around way more than I need. I peroidically sort through all the contents of my bag trying to figure out why it's so heavy, and I invariably put stuff I NEVER use in the "keep" file because I MIGHT use it (and wouldn't you know, whenever I decide not to "keep" an item, I find myself needing it the next day).

Or maybe I don't need it as much as I think.... perhaps it is just that I don't like to do without stuff; I'd rather carry around a boulder than not tend to that possibility. The bag and all its junk makes me feel more secure.

And maybe that goes back to the whole womb thing......