Carolita, What’s Actually in Your Handbag Right Now?

by The Hairpin

Like those magazines that ask celebrities to reveal the shiny, enviable essentials they supposedly carry with them at all times, we ask one another: what’s actually in your bag right now? So, Carolita “Allows Strangers to Drool on Her” Johnson, what’s actually in your bag right now?

1. One print out of my friend Emily Gordon’s poem for the Corduroy Appeciation Club’s 11/11/11 gala.

2. Three shortie pencils nicked from the Corduroy Appreciation Club’s box of complimentary (but not THAT complimentary) pencils, all saying “I was there 11/11/11.”

3. One shortie pencil nicked from somewhere else (they’re irresistible!).

4. Handy Sharpie for defacing subway platform advertisements when I get the urge.

5. Brush pen for drawing at restaurants.

6. Japanese mini brush pen, to try out, maybe keep in my pocket if I like it.

7. Spry cinnamon gum for dental health.

8. Hand-disinfecting wipes.

9. Metal and rhinestone memo & pen case.

10. Steel mirror from MoMA for applying makeup in the subway.

11. Muji silver polishing cloth for the silver brooch I wear on my coat sometimes.

12. A complimentary Ikea paper measuring tape (love those things).

13. iPhone charger.

14. Rubber bands removed from the toast my BF makes and wraps in paper towels for me to eat on the subway to work.

15. Several used napkins, one with a map my little brother drew for me of our old neighborhood, showing me where the meat market and cobbler were back in the day.

16. Kindle.

17. Money purse.

18. $20 bill and a quarter I just found at the bottom of my bag (yay!).

19. Several swatches of fabric from the fabric store (as if!).

20. One colorful Sybilla print cotton hankie.

21. Lip balm and two lipsticks which when blended together make me look half decent between meals when my lips start turning blue.

22. Several hair holding options (clips, barrette, bobby pin, silicon hairband).

23. Emery board.

24. iPhone.

25. MetroCard in holder.

26. Hairspray (for getting my neck hair to stay up along with the rest of my hair when I pull it back).

27. Keys with flashdrive attachment and gym pass.

28. Tube of Aquaphor I don’t use anymore because it’s petroleum and I could swear I get a whiff of gas station from it.

29. Visine for when I need to look like I actually got enough sleep last night.

30. Breath tonic for spraying surreptitiously into my mouth when I feel insecure.

31. Hand cream.

32. Prescription sunglasses.

33. A cheap chromium ring I found at Penn Station in the ladies’ room two years ago, that I disinfected and keep meaning to bring to the Lost & Found in case it had sentimental value and the preson might check in for it some day.

34. A lot of dust, some toast crumbs, and cinnamon powder (there’s usually a mini cinnamon shaker in my bag but I put it in another bag yesterday).

Notice that everything I really need is red: purse, mirror, metrocard holder, iPhone, Kindle, pencil, key holder, lip balm (well, the top is red). Everything else is extra.

Carolita Johnson’s cartoons appear in The New Yorker and at Oscarinaland.