Sunday, August 9, 2009

The One Where I Find Eternal Happiness

Covet. I didn't just want the patchwork Coach tote. I needed it. I stalked it.

I remember the first time I saw it, about a year ago, encased in a glass display to keep the grubby-handed general masses away from it. With its smooth suede, funky animal prints and classic-but-hip shape, I was smitten instantly. I looked. I longed. I ... moved on. The $500 price tag was more than an obstacle. My first car was worth less than that bag.

My *ahem* fiscal conservativeness is fairly well known (read: I'm cheap), but even if I wasn't always budget-conscious, I don't think I could justify that kind of money for a bag. Heck, I didn't pay that much for my (designer) wedding dress.

So I watched and waited, scouring the Coach factory outlet store seasonally, hoping it would be marked down to a reasonable price. Mind you, at this point in my life, the most I'd ever paid for a purse was $30.

Fast forward to a month ago. After another disappointing trip to the local outlet mall, we stopped at designer discount store. There, hanging on the rack was my bag. Same shape, same design, not a replica, not a knock off, MY BAG. Authentic Coach. The price was dramatically less than it originally had been, but still more than I could justify. So, after clutching it adoringly for a couple of minutes (probably much to the chagrin of the sales clerk), I hung it up, waved goodbye and moved on.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I had a HIGHLY successful garage sale. After using a portion of the funds to replace the dining room table that we sold, I had about a little bit left over. I planned the ways to spend it - send more on my student loan? Maybe a nice dinner with the hubby? Save it for a rainy day? In the back of my mind, though, the plan was hatching. A couple days later, I *accidentally* stopped at a different branch of the discount store, thinking it would be a sign if the bag was here, in a different location, almost a month later. I knew, going in there, that if that bag was on the rack, it was leaving with me. Responsibility and rationale be damned! I was going to splurge. On something for myself. That I'd wanted for almost a year.

It was with a quiet reverence that I carried it to the register. It was with a gentle force that the clerk had to pry it from my hands to scan the tag. And it was with sheer euphoria that I carried it to my car.

When I got home, I kind of dreaded the hubb's reaction, seeing as I rib him pretty incessantly about his video game/fantasy sports spending. I took the purse out of its protective dust bag.
Me: Isn't it beautiful? *breathes in smell*
Hubbs: It's okay...please tell me you didn't pay $500 for that bag.
Me: Of course not. I'm obsessed, not stupid.

I lovingly placed the bag back in its protective home, stashing it high up in my closet, so not to provide temptation for the dog, or the dust, or, well, anything destructive-like.

It took me two weeks to work up the nerve to carry it. For one, I was afraid. What would people think? It's sad, but I hoped others would think it is a knock-off, rather than think me the sort to spend that kind of money on a bag. We have several friends who are going through rough times with unemployment right now. I just bought a new car, we have a wonderful house...I didn't want to be the sort to rub my good fortune in my friends' faces.

Plus, what would I do if something happened to it?

But once I carried it out, the world just looked brighter. I felt thinner. And more fabulous. To me, it feels like I'm carrying a piece of artwork on my arm. It's beautiful, and luxurious, and it reminds me that life is too short to only think about the bad. Sometimes, it's okay to buy something just because you want it. And if it's got leopard print somewhere on it, even better.

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