Living Small

05/14/2010

see picture below for scale

Some days, I would like my entire life to fit into this small change purse.

Some days, it does.

Those are the good days. The days when all the stars align. When it’s above 60 degrees and not raining; when the house doesn’t need cleaning or painting or maintaining; when Paul is available and I am available and sometimes, though more often not, Sam is available: when all those pieces fall into place, my world is perfect, because my life fits in this small purse.

Here is how I define “life:”

  • Chapstick
  • Tissues
  • I.D.
  • A couple of bucks
  • Cell phone

That’s it. That’s my checklist. Five “checks” and we’re out the door: Me, my guy(s), and my life, all on our bikes.

We’ve been through many cycling incarnations since Sam came along. Paul did the daddy-duty and pulled the Burley trailer and later, an attachable tandem. In the cute purple and yellow trailer days, he said he wished he’d known in college what a chick-magnet a baby in a trailer is. He would have skipped the Frisbee-catching border collie and just borrowed a baby.

We progressed through several riding seasons with Sam on little-kid bikes with no speeds to more recently, his big-kid bike that has speeds but weighs a jillion pounds. Don’t tell Sam, but we perpetuate his burden, because otherwise, he’d just be leaving us in his dust.

Even so, he still kind of does.

After years spent riding on the crowded, hilly trails outside of Washington, D.C., riding in the western suburbs of Chicago has been a revelation. Our flat trails mean we can crank out some serious miles. Half-century rides (50 miles) are now in my wheel-house, and:

“I am publicly committed to finishing my first century this season.”

When it happens—and when I’ve recovered—I’ll provide the color-commentary here.

Our long rides have to wait for the weekends. But I also love hopping on my bike to run daily errands, to meet friends for coffee, or to get to meetings. A less congested town and plenty of bike racks make this possible. The price of gas makes this prudent.

The little brown change purse makes it perfect.

If I had spent $100 on that little bag, people would say I was crazy. Here’s what I think is crazy: People spend multiple hundreds on shoes, jeans, meals out, i-This and i-That, and hardly blink and definitely don’t get nearly the bang for their bucks that I get from this purse. Which came as a free insert in an inexpensive purse I donated long ago. That’s an amazing cost vs. value ratio.

When I attach the purse to my bike and know it truly contains all I need for a day’s ride, in that moment, I have actually achieved my goal. My life is as downsized, as streamlined and as low maintenance as it can get.

Contentment: check.

encomium for a purse and a pursuit

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One Response to “Living Small”

  1. Sydney Says:

    Pshew! I was worried that you were going to chuck the small change purse! It frames the Chapstick perfectly in its little window. This sight alone provides comfort. I’m glad it stays.


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