The cashier smiled. Blinked.
Bag Braille Round 1 ensued: my fingers reading the contents of my carry-all, feeling for the familiar soft leather of my purse, the harder leather of my sunglasses case, the jingle of my keys. Finally, a slip of paper! David Copperfield like, I whipped that rabbit out of the proverbial hat. But alas: an expired yogurt coupon.
“Just a second. Sorry.”
More smiling. More blinking.
Bag Braille Round 2: feeling cloth, feeling plastic, feeling something wet. Another dry crinkle: voila!
Nope. That would be the parking garage ticket from my visit to see my friend in hospital two weeks ago.
Uh-Oh. This was going to require the Shameful Unpack. Out came the presentable top layer – purse, glasses, keys, cellphone.
Then the clutch diaper bag. Then lip balm. Then the lip balm lid.
Then the keep-my-kids-busy-in-the-restaurant crayons. The crayons smell like strawberries. They are King Tut-meets-Madame-Tussads: eerie embalmed wax figures.
A $10 bill (score!). Lollipop wrappers. One lollipop (“Mom can I have that?” -No.) A Q-tip: condition no-longer-serviceable. Ibuprofen. A blunt pencil. A pair of earrings (so THAT’s where I put those!) A tampon (“Mom what’s that? – a barbie pillow. “Can I have it?” -No.) A church bulletin. Sticks of gum (preemptive strike from the mama: No, you may not have any. Don’t even ask). A toy helicopter. A comb. The bottom layer of items is coated in a thin veneer of cheerio dust. a post-it with an address (dang it! I was supposed to write!) A handful of old raisins and cheerios, which must have valiantly escaped a confiscated snack trap. A bobby pin.
But no receipt. “Sorry,” I mutter. “I’ll have to return this another day.”
Move aside Forrest Gump. Life is like a woman’s handbag: you never know what you’re gonna get.