Banks County Opinions...

JULY 31, 2002


By: Shar Porier.
he Banks County News
July 31, 2002

Purses keep eating my 'stuff'
I've been having this problem. It seems my handbags have taken to eating my "stuff."
I know I put the car keys in there, in this little pocket along with a pen, my business card holder, a pocket knife and gum, but when I reach to get them, they're not where I put them.
I hunt; I pull stuff out. I dump the whole darn thing in the car seat and scramble through the melange I had so carefully organized just a short time before. Still no keys.
I go back in my mind step-by-step. I recall putting my checkbook, my wallet, my tissue, my hand cream, my magnifying glasses, my notepad, my comb, my make-up bag, the "stuff" that goes in the little pocket and, lastly, my keys. Ok, I know I put them in there.
I root through the "stuff" on the car seat again. Still no keys.
Back in the house to look on my bed where it all began. No keys.
I go downstairs and check the table where I lay everything to get my morning cup of coffee to go. No keys.
I check over by the coffeepot. Still, no keys.
No pockets in my clothes so that eliminates another possible location.
Back to the car. I grab my purse to start putting my "stuff" back in it -- I hear a familiar rattle.
With raised eyebrow, I look inside and what do you know - there they are, just laying there in the little pocket, right where I put them.
Sometimes, they're a bit trickier. I know this because I put a watch in one and couldn't find it for two weeks. I went through the dump-out-and-shake routine. No watch. I went through everything I had worn, every place in the house I could think of, still no watch. Then, one day when I was changing purses, there it was.
Pens, too, cause constant consternation. Those get "eaten" regularly and I now have a myriad of them. I figured that if I put two in then at least I could find one. Ha!
Now, I would normally think, it was just me. I just didn't look good enough.
But, I'm not the only woman having this problem. I've seen them in the check out lines. Ladies hurriedly searching for coupons or glasses or whatever. It's reassuring to know I am not alone in this dilemma.
Is it just another challenge we women have to endure? Just another way to torment our memories?
I choose to believe there's a conspiracy afoot. Yes, a handbag conspiracy.
How to counter the predicament? Maybe it's time to move up to the new organizer handbags I've seen.
Hmmm…. maybe I should get one of those -- a place for everything, neat and secure.
So, I begin a quest for the perfect handbag. It has to be rather on the large size to hold all my "stuff."
As I peruse the selection, I notice these teeny-tiny bags. I'm in awe. How on earth do women fit all their "stuff" in those tiny bags? How do they get by without "stuff?" My checkbook wouldn't fit in one of those, let alone my comb.
Here's one. Let's see - it has an address book, calendar, umbrella, a flap that holds credit cards and such, a place for a pen and calculator, a slot for a mobile phone, a tiny bag that I guess one could use for keys and another which must be for make-up?
Do I really want to carry an umbrella around in my purse? No.
Do I want to carry a calculator? No.
I already have make-up bags, besides they "hide" things, too. My nail file disappears regularly in it. I now have five or six since I end up buying one when I can't it. Of course, it always turns up in the bag when I put the new one in there.
As I move through the myriad of bags, I can't find one that suits me. I'm muttering to myself and other shoppers are passing by wondering about my sanity.
"She's been there for 30 minutes looking at those bags."
I move to another store and actually find one that's just the right size with a few pouches for this "stuff" and that "stuff." Even had a hard case for glasses. Cool!
Then I look at the price. Eeeek! Have you noticed how much they want to charge you for something that you put all your stuff in and then can't find it? Spend $40 on something that could still torment me? What if I forget what "stuff" I put in what pouch? It would mean relearning a whole new system. Would I really be any better off?
Still, would it be that difficult to regroove my brain to suit this new organized perfectly suited component of my necessary accouterments? Maybe it would be worth it in the long run. No more rooting, no more lost time looking for "stuff."
As I pondered the pros and cons, I heard a commotion and glanced over at a shirt counter. There was a woman with a handbag just like the one I was holding. She was rooting through it.
"I know my glasses are in here someplace," she said, furiously grabbing "stuff" out of the purse and piling it on the counter.
I looked at the bag, gingerly put it back on the shelf and slowly backed away. And to think I had almost considered…
I decided I was better off staying with my old familiar "stuff" eaters and use the $40 to keep myself in nail files and pens.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.


By: Jana Adams
he Banks County News
July 31, 2002

On the party line
Short-short, long-long or short-long — did you have your own ring on the party line?
That’s a thing of the past, right?
Caller i.d., voice mail, call waiting, wireless phones, Internet access...and telephone party lines. That lineup just doesn’t seem to work.
And in fact, it doesn’t work. I read an article recently about how party telephone lines in rural Vermont are on their way out because they just aren’t compatible with new phone gadgets and services.
First of all, who knew there were still party lines up and running, anywhere?
And second of all, in case you don’t know what a party line is — they date back a few years, in rural Georgia, anyway — it’s simply a shared phone line between several families, with each home having its “own ring” — short-short, short-long, one long, two longs, etc.
But, according to this article – “Turn out the lights, the party’s over” — on Prime Times, an online publication of the Mail Tribune in Oregon, party lines were disconnected in the not-so-distant past in parts of rural Oregon and they can still be found in Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.
(Huh, and I thought party lines were just a thing of my early childhood.)
Today I am just as likely to not pick up the phone as I am to answer it, but that’s because I have caller i.d. and don’t really want to talk to “unknown caller” seven times in five hours (I know, I know, I’ve already written that column). But when I was a child, the reason for not answering the phone was a little different – the call might not be for our family.
You really had to concentrate. I don’t remember what “our ring” was — double-long or single-short? — but I do remember on occasion picking up the phone to call my cousin about all-important matters of our two-member girls’ club, only to find that some neighbor was already occupying the line. There was an unspoken code of conduct up and down the dirt road (no road name at that time, we were just Rural Route 2, Commerce) don’t listen in on someone else’s conversations. Whether that held true or not is a different matter.
In 1950, some 75 percent of all telephone lines were party lines, nationwide. But by the 1970s, at least in rural Jackson County, they were on their way out. Soon after the dissolution of our party line, it was no longer long distance to call my cousin at her Center home. Freedom!
Strange to learn, then, that rural party lines as I knew them are still around.
Now “party line” also has a whole new meaning, apparently. Out of curiosity, I did a search on the Internet and learned all about services that offer “488 callers per party line” and “30 party line rooms” where online users can access a main menu and then work their way to bulletin boards, “personals” and virtual chats on a topic-related, city-by-city or nationwide basis.
Of course there is the disclaimer about not meeting in person someone you meet through a “party line.” It’s not really a neighborhood or community thing anymore, I guess.
Still, it’s funny to see. Sometimes something old really does become something new, given a little time. Recycled and rejuvenated.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.

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