Casualty: portable umbrella

The trouble with me is that I can keep track of only two things at the
same time. I've told myself again and again to look back before I
leave a place, and generally I've gotten very good at that. These
blanks, these unthinking moments are the chinks that I have to fill
in. Today's casualty: a portable umbrella.

Losing an umbrella is certainly a more attractive prospect than the
thing that caused me to put all of the stuff on the ground in the
first place. See, I thought I had lost my cellphone. From that
perspective, an umbrella doesn't seem so bad, does it? It's a waste to
have to spend for another umbrella, but I can file that under life
lessons. And just look at all the _other_ days when I didn't lose
anything! (Yes, most people have far more impressive records, but
every little bit counts for self-esteem.)

Do I need to replace the umbrella? Well, I've got a raincloak in the
closet, but it's too bulky to take with me all the time. Another
microumbrella would be good, but the more pressing need is to fix my
lugging-around system so that I'm carrying only one item.

I saw a close-to-ideal tote in Staples Depot the other day. It was a
Roots microfiber tote wth two main compartments, one of which had a
separate laptop sleeve. The tote bag could hold legal-size documents,
making it larger than I needed but still acceptable.

The deal-killer, though, was the fact that the store didn't have a
full-length mirror that would let me check proportions. Being a rather
small girl, I'm mindful of style guides that tell me not to overwhelm
my frame with huge bags. (Advice I have cheerfully ignored over the
years, but there's no time like the present to start paying attention
to these things.)

I did, however, spend a fair bit of time looking at fancy three-ring
binders with both handles and zippers. Zippered binders give me peace
of mind when I carry loose items: combination pens that don't fit into
standard pen holders, coin purses, etc. Put proper handles and a carry
strap on a zippered binder and ooooh…

But there's still all the paraphernalia I carry with me: laptop, keys,
lunch box… A binder large enough to contain all of those comfortably
would be too large to balance on one hand while writing and too
unwieldy to lay out on a desk while I take notes. So I reluctantly
turned away from bright displays and advertisements for binder models
I hadn't even imagined (Z-shaped! double-binders! expanding file
binders!) and headed out of Staples, wondering what would fit into my
personal filing system.

I think I need some kind of tote. A briefcase is too business-y; a
backpack, too casual. Messenger bags offer possibilities, too. I just
need to find something that's large enough to fit my things but still
small enough to fit my frame.

And _then_ I can get an umbrella to match it.

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