I can’t bear to go in our basement for two reasons. First, those steep stairs give me trouble for obvious reasons. Second, and perhaps even more important, a little army of purses has marched in and has yet to go out of season.
Over the last five years of making this house our own, my mother has worked tediously to make the basement her own private fashion closet. It started out simple enough – sparse even. Every few months, she’d come home, breezing through the door like a giddy teenager coming home from a shopping spree at the mall, to show off her newest fashion passion purchase. Sometimes it was a warm winter jacket. Other times it was a pair of pristine powder-white shoes or a pair of very loud Christmas socks.
It was all harmless enough. The sheer look of joy on her face made it cute, even.
But, like with all addictions, I should have known better than that. It was a slippery slope from there, a slope of crystal-clear ice that she slid down wearing her winter coat and Christmas socks, I’m sure. A pair of fancy dress shoes here. A summery button-down shirt there. And in what I can only imagine had to be an impulse buy, a Charlie Brown shirt.
And that’s when the dreaded purses invaded our lives. Yet looking back now, I think of the joy all this has brought her and can’t help but wonder: As far as addictions go, is a purse fetish (not even a fetish; maybe more of a deep like) such a bad thing if it makes me so happy?
MORE JUICE AFTER THE JUMP…
I should preface this with a disclaimer: My mother is not one of those high-end shoppers. No offense to her, but she’s never shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s or Bloomingdales. And I’m pretty sure she thinks Coco Chanel is a beverage drink.
No, she lurks deep in the racks of Target to find her marvelously stitched, one-in-a-million purse.
I actually feel sort of like the mother sometimes, especially in these times of hardships and the looming economic crisis, and especially since The Fashion Powers That Be have cast the purse curse on her. Before long, she was bringing home purses in all shapes and sizes: red, maroon, black, blue, long straps, short straps and my personal favorite, an ’80s denim number she just had to buy for our trip out West last year. It was all I could do not to call too much attention to it at the airport.
Sometimes I hear her rustling around in the basement. She shuffles the various purses in a frenzy, sort of like someone looking for a needle in a haystack. She thrashes and tosses and yes, sometimes squeals, saying, “Oh, this purse won’t do,” after which I hear a giant thud as she discards the horrible purse to the hard, cold basement floor.
And every time, she’d add to her ‘collection,’ the conversations inevitably went like this:
“Look at my new purse.”
“Mother, do you really need a new purse?”
“I don’t have a good spring purse [yes, she does have purses for each season]. Besides, I won’t need any more. I think this is the purse.”
Yup, you guessed it. The scene would repeat itself the next month and the month after that and the month after that. Apparently, there are a lot of the purses out there.
I suppose it could be quite worse, really. She doesn’t know that there are 108,968 hits for the word ‘purse’ on ebay. She doesn’t know all those discount code sites. She doesn’t even like to go to the mall, so I think I’m pretty safe there too.
And besides, it makes her happy. How can you even put any sort of price tag on that? We should all have the right to lightly indulge every once in awhile in something that we do for the sheer comfort it gives us.
For all the grief I give the poor woman, there is one bright side. She’ll always be the most stylish 52-year-old woman in the room. And that’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, is it? Come to think of it, that’s even cuter than those warm, comfy Christmas socks.
P.S.: A few days after I wrote this, my mother came home to show off yet another new purse. Her rationale? “It was only $5 dollars.” Yes, right on schedule …