Friday, March 16, 2007

"Before You Die" Books and Finding the Perfect Purse

A current publishing trend is to list the things one should see, do, eat or visit before kicking the bucket. I’m sure you’ve seen or flipped through titles such as “1000 Things to Do Before You Die” and “1000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Magazines have also picked up on the “before you die” mania. GQ Magazine did an article called “20 Hamburgers You MUST Eat Before You Die.” (Capital letters are the editor's, not mine.) Other publications have recommend movies to watch and books to read before gasping the final breath. The list of lists goes on and on.

Frankly, I don’t get it. I have enough trouble getting through my own to-do list without trying to fulfill another person’s list. Perhaps these books and lists are for people with no imagination and no lists of their own. Years ago, I remember becoming very irritated with a woman in my book club who wanted to buy a book of recommended book club books. The way I saw it, if you didn’t have at least three books on the night stand and a self-made list of six books you were interested in reading, you should read the writing on the wall: Quit the book club.

A woman in her mid-80’s, an avid traveler, recently told me that one of her children gave her the book “1000 Places to See Before You Die.” I think she felt a little pressure.

And what happens after you’ve eaten all 20 hamburgers and seen all 1001 movies and visited all 1000 places? Does life lose its meaning? Do people actually think, “I can die now”? Or do they go out and buy “1000 MORE Hamburgers You MUST Eat Before You Die.”

I’m thinking of creating a new sub-genre, “1000 Things to Do Before Life-Saving, Intense Treatment That Will Make You Very Sick for a Long Time.” It’s an interesting concept because very few things on my “before I die” list appear on my “before I’m very sick” list. For example, I want to find the perfect purse before I die, but I need to find the perfect overnight bag before I check in to the City of Hope.

I simply don’t have time to find the perfect purse right now. This has been a lifelong pursuit and will, quite likely, continue for the rest of my life. Those who know me well know that I love my Tod’s bags. The leather and craftsmanship are impeccable. The style is classic. And I love those tiny brass feet on the bottom. They come in handy when I’m in a public restroom without hooks in the stall. (Don’t you just hate that?)

In spite of their long list of attributes, my beloved Tod’s are not the perfect purses. I still have to spend far too much time on “search expeditions” for keys and the cell phone.

My friend Carol thought she had found the perfect bag – a diminutive Kate Spade. And, yes, it would have been the perfect bag if she carried only a lipstick, a credit card and a driver’s license. Anything more than that just doesn’t fit. So Carol attaches essential items – keys, cell phone, etc. – to the OUTSIDE of her bag. Her adorable KS now looks more like a pack mule than a purse.

Carol recently announced that the clever Kate Spade has come up with a solution. Apparently, Carol wasn’t the only woman with the pack mule look. KS has created an ancillary purse that attaches to the mini model. And it’s just $200. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but wouldn’t it be easier to take the $200 and just buy a bigger purse?

I think the best solution is to let women “test drive” purses before buying them. Carol would have found that the contents of her life did not fit into her Kate Spade. I would have discovered the search expedition problem.

But, in my case, I can see definite advantages to keeping “find the perfect purse” permanently on my “before I die” list. It’s an elusive hunt, like finding the Lost Atlantis. It will give me a reason to keep fighting for my life. “Stand back, cancer! You can’t take me yet. I have not found the perfect purse.”

7 comments:

Paula Johnson said...

What IS it with women and handbags? It's not just you, Susan, it's ALL women.

I actually do have the perfect handbag, but I know it won't last forever. I even honored my purse in a blog entry of my own:

http://rosecitysisters.blogspot.com/2007/02/i-heart-perlina-and-perlina-hearts-me.html

Paula Johnson said...

This will not surprise anyone who has known me for more than 48 hours, but I maintain a "before I die" list. (I love lists.) Here are a few of my faves:

1. Experience the "World's Longest Yard Sale" held each August.
http://www.127sale.com/

2. Attend the TED Conference, mostly because it sounds wonderful, but partly because its founder, Richard Saul Wurman, once took me to breakfast.
http://www.ted.com/

3. Help build a Habitat for Humanity house. I co-chaired a volunteer crew for Rebuilding Together several years ago, so this is the next logical step.

Standup comedy was not on the list, but I did it anyway.

So...Susan and FoS (Friends of Susan), what's on your "before I die" lists? Yeah, I'm nosy. Deal with it.

Lilli said...

Susan,

I LOVE your insight, especially on the list of books. People, get a little imagination of your own! What Do YOU want to do? Which is what Paula is talking about. Those are HER lists, not someone else's idea of what's important. (sorry about all the caps)

On my list to do before I die or get a serious illness that will make me sick for a long time (oops! I already had that!) is to make a difference. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I'll know it when I see it.

As for the purse, I think I gave up that quest a long time ago, but whatever keeps you going.

Carolyn H. said...

Susan -

I hope you never find the perfect purse! I hope you keep looking and looking...

I'm glad you have so much energy for your logistical hassles. I am frustrated that you need to be so proactive, but I'm impressed with your spunk and success. I have no idea what answer to hope you get from MDA, but I hope you get the one that helps you most.

I think about you every day and send thoughts of health and tranquility your way.

I also am really glad Cindy is doing so well and I'm jealous as Hell of your family life! Betcha didn't think anyone was jealous of you just now didja? Life is full of surprises.

What an impressive woman you are! Keep it up.

Carolyn H. said...

Susan -

I hope you never find the perfect purse! I hope you keep looking and looking...

I'm glad you have so much energy for your logistical hassles. I am frustrated that you need to be so proactive, but I'm impressed with your spunk and success. I have no idea what answer to hope you get from MDA, but I hope you get the one that helps you most.

I think about you every day and send thoughts of health and tranquility your way.

I also am really glad Cindy is doing so well and I'm jealous as Hell of your family life! Betcha didn't think anyone was jealous of you just now didja? Life is full of surprises.

What an impressive woman you are! Keep it up.

Carolyn H. said...

Susan -

I hope you never find the perfect purse! I hope you keep looking and looking...

I'm glad you have so much energy for your logistical hassles. I am frustrated that you need to be so proactive, but I'm impressed with your spunk and success. I have no idea what answer to hope you get from MDA, but I hope you get the one that helps you most.

I think about you every day and send thoughts of health and tranquility your way.

I also am really glad Cindy is doing so well and I'm jealous as Hell of your family life! Betcha didn't think anyone was jealous of you just now didja? Life is full of surprises.

What an impressive woman you are! Keep it up.

Carolyn H. said...
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