I’ve got friends who keep sending me little memes that I have no intention to spam other people in my Gmail address book with. I can, however, spam the readers of this blog!
So for those of you who are, for some reason, dying to know what’s in my bag, here’s a rundown:
– Work pass & press card. V. important. We have a saying in Russian: “without paperwork, you’re a little bug. With paperwork, you’re a human being!”
– Wallet. This one was a present from my ex, from London. It’s huge, expensive and fabulously bourgeois – novacheck with a patent leather trim. I keep the usual wallet-y stuff in it, and I also keep more unusual stuff, such as two small, laminated icons of the Virgin & Jesus, a small cross threaded in gold on a tiny cloth pillow (of the sort one normally sews into one’s clothes, or a soldier’s uniform – a present from one of my aunts), and small amounts of currencies from all the countries I used to live in (Ukraine, U.S.A, United Arab Emirates & Jordan. Should probably stick a Soviet coin in there too.).
– Keys from two flats – one in Moscow, one in Kiev. A keychain of silver stars I bought in Alabama, and a keychain of a little red and gold bag that my ex brought me back from Dubai once. I feel a little wistful every time I see the little red and gold bag dangling. And so it goes.
– A bottle of mineral water facial spray. Because it’s Freaking. Hot. In Moscow. Sometimes, when I catch random people looking at me when I spray myself with it, I’ll offer to spray them too. They tend to say yes.
– My metro pass. Speaking of the metro, just look at what I had to put with this morning. Hades. This is Hades.
– Cosmetics, to keep myself pretty. There’s a mirror and eyeshadow compact in there, that my badass teenage BROTHER, of all people, bought for me. I told him I wanted eyeshadow for Christmas (as a way of getting him to not buy me anything – I didn’t want him to spend his money), he went into a make-up store with one of his equally badass friends, described my facial features and colouring to the saleslady, and picked out a compact. And it was perfect.
– Deodorant. Because it is Freaking. Hot. In Moscow. I really need to switch to some of that more natural crap, that won’t make my lymph nodes develop tumours. I really need to.
– My big fat Nokia phone. It belonged to my ex. I stole it in a fit of pique, after I discovered that it had a 5 megapixel camera. My ex had broken my camera a few months prior. I am still avoiding the iPhone. I think this is an issue of sentimentality.
– A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book. I avoided reading Byatt for years, on account of her dissing and dismissing J. R. Rowling in the NYT. No, really, I actually did this. Looking back on it, it might have been a tad silly. A tad.
– A pack of Parliaments and blue lighter to match. I don’t really smoke, of course.
– A long, silver scarf. When I lived in Jordan, I wore it as a hijab for a while. Nowadays, I take it with me when I plan to visit a church, like I did this morning. (There was absolutely no one there, it was just after a service but before they closed their doors. A few women were singing psalms in a corner by the iconostasis. One came out eventually and accepted the little paper on which I had written the names of people who needed prayers – prayers for health and wellbeing, prayers for souls who had passed on, and a special prayer to the Virgin, for two individuals who need extra help. One of those individuals being me.)
– Oversized purple sunglasses. I bought them in London, after losing my other ones in a pub in Devon. As I recall, I got a huge lecture about switching from Vivienne Westwood to Ralph Lauren – from a person who is actually fashionable.
– A green little iPod Shuffle. My actual iPod recently fell in battle. The Shuffle was kindly donated by a famous philanthropist, i.e. my brother.
– A small bottle of perfume – the grassy, summery kind. “It reminds me of my youth,” someone told me recently. “But you are still young,” I said. “Not in that way,” he replied.
– The bag itself is a black patent leather tote, fabulously expensive, bought on fabulous sale as, to quote Disney’s Emperor Kuzco, “my birthday gift to me! I’m SO happy!” I’m not really happy, but stalking around Moscow with a great bag makes me feel imposing – which is good enough, I suppose. Our head news correspondent recently told me that one of these days, I’ll come back from the bathroom and both she and my bag will be halfway to the border with Belarus. I eagerly await further developments.