By Nancy McKeon
THERE ARE a couple of moments in “The Crown” that made me do a mental two-step. In both incidences the young Queen Elizabeth is marching briskly through her palace and I notice she has a handbag on her arm. Now it’s been said that she carries little but maybe tissues, reading glasses and a mirror and lipstick in the bag. Maybe a bit more. Actually, that’s pretty normal for the rest of us, but still I’m kinda laughing.
And then I stop and think: Given the size of Buckingham Palace, which seems to be about as big as Missouri, of course she carries her purse with her. What if she’s at the east end of the building and needs to run out to
CVS to pick up something (like more tissues)? Well, she certainly doesn’t want to have to run back to her dressing room on the west side of the palace* to grab her bag, does she? The trip might take up half of a “Crown” episode!
My own house is quite a bit more modest than QEII’s digs. And yet I find myself shlepping all sorts of stuff with me as I travel from my lower-level office up to the kitchen on the main floor then to the bedrooms upstairs.
What do I carry around? My phone, two iPads (when one is slow I try the other). A charger and cord. (Even though I have two chargers/cords, in the past both have managed to come to rest on the same floor of the house, and sometimes not the one I’m on. Yes, the exercise would do me good, but I’d rather just carry at least one of them around.)
What else do I transport? A bottle of water, a couple of notebooks, Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, which I’ve sworn I will finish and return to the library, even though I’ve already seen the Broadway musical and do not have to swot up on the man. Really. And there’s always laundry to be toted upstairs or down. And a couple of magazines I’m leafing through, in theory.
My dear departed friend Madeleine used to carry her handbag up to the bedroom with her at night. Kind of
a security blanket, I guess. My college roommate Violette said it was better for me to take my bag upstairs with me at night lest burglars break in and steal it from the ground floor. (Me, I’m thinking I’d rather make it easy for them to find something downstairs than to have them come up to my room in search!)
I’ve been trying to devise a carry-all, something like the plastic tote housekeepers carry to take cleaning products from room to room. But maybe I should simply follow the queen’s lead. Instead of a handbag, though, it could just be one of the 350 or 400 tote bags I have stacked in the closet, you know, just in case.
Even better, what about something that would free up my hands, so I can carry a snack or the dry-cleaning? I suppose I could tie something around my waist, but that might be awkward. What if I devised something I could carry on my back like a papoose, maybe something with armholes so I could secure it?
Even Queen Elizabeth didn’t come up with this: All the electronics and reading matter can go into this device, leaving my hands free to carry that drink or that all-important snack. You know, to give me nourishment for climbing another flight of stairs.
Hmm, seems I’ve just re-invented the backpack. Okay, I feel better for having talked this out with you. Thanks!
THIS JUST IN!: Last night I binged the entire fourth season of “Grace and Frankie.” (I know, now I have nothing to live for. But onward . . . ) This is the Netflix series starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as mismatched older and newly divorced friends. One of the plot lines centers on Grace’s knee replacement surgery, then further knee problems. But the scene that thrilled me was, late in the season, when Grace is found, embarrassed, sitting on the stairs of the women’s shared beach house wearing a backpack, the pouch side in front. Frankie peers in and discovers a mug, a teabag and a hotplate. So there: I’m not the only one who totes stuff around the house, although I would have included some cookies to go with the tea. (But that’s why Jane Fonda looks the way she does and I . . . don’t.)
FURTHERMORE: A story in the Washington Post points out that school lockers are becoming a thing of the past. The kids want everything with them all the time: books, phones, water bottles, headphones, laptops, tablets, snacks, coats and extra shoes. Himalayan Sherpas without a base camp. So there. I can live without the extra shoes.