If your life is in need of some excitement, might I suggest mailing your handbag to South Carolina.
Seriously. I did that last week. And it’s about as bad as you think.
Here’s what happened. A few weeks ago, during a trip to Philadelphia, my aunt complimented me on my bag, a blue and white striped satchel (purchased on clearance) from Anthropologie in July.
It’s a great bag! Neutral, but not boring. Roomy, but not bulky. Summery, but not all dumb and flowery.
So when I saw it on the clearance table at an even lower price in August, I bought it as a gift. And then, because I was so “busy,” I let it sit in the entryway of my apartment for a week before I finally lugged it to the post office, folded it in half and shoved it in a corrugated box.
The presentation was lacking, but it was thoughtful nonetheless. Off it went to South Carolina.
A few days later, I received an email from my aunt:
I received your package. Thank you so much, you did not have to do that! Thank you for thinking of me. You’re something else.
Around the same time, I was rummaging through my closet and noticed the bag sitting on the floor. I found that strange. Not only is that not where I keep my handbags, but it also happened to be full of the toys I had bought my nephew for Christmas.
When I took a closer look, I realized that this bag was, in fact, the new one – as evidenced by the tag dangling from its strap.
Which meant that my bag – the one that was full of old receipts, hair ties and, as I was later told, a half-empty water bottle – was somewhere on Hilton Head Island.
To make matters even worse, I had included a poem with the gift. It could not have been worded more ambiguously even if I tried:
A gift for Lisa –
For what reason?
Because it was
The end of season!
Had I sent the new bag, my aunt would have understood that the item was an outrageous bargain purchased at an end-of-season sale. But since her package contained a used bag and a handful of spare change, it seemed more like I was sending her my castoffs because I was too much of a snob to use them next year.
You’re something else, indeed.
It was 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday when all this came to light, but I called my aunt anyway. Never mind that she might be sleeping – I needed to clear the air!
But even that went wrong. Because I had a cold. So when I got her voicemail, all I could do was cough.
“I’m sorry! I have a sore throat!” I wheezed into the receiver. “And I’m sorry that I sent you the wrong bag!”
“Relax,” she texted later that morning. “I actually like the bag more since it was yours…”
“Relax,” is about the classiest response that one can give when a bag full of trash arrives on her front porch.
And “Relax,” is the best advice one can give to someone who in the last two weeks has locked herself out of her apartment while buying a half-gallon of milk… knocked a potted aloe plant to the ground while taking a conference call in her kitchen… addressed an executive by the wrong name in an e-mail… and double-booked herself for dinner. Twice.
We all have a lot going on. But sometimes you need to ship your handbag out of state to realize that you’re not handling it well.
I’m not. And I’m making some cuts.