Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The handbag as health hazard

I came across this news item while browsing today about how oversize handbags are a health hazard in terms of neck, shoulder and back problems.

Jane Sadler, a family doctor, reports that she sees many female patients with neck pains and headaches. One of her diagnostic tests is to look for her patient's purse and pick it up. "We take it over to the scale and weigh it and usually they're anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds (3.1-4.5 kgs)...We're really going to see women with more and more problems later on if we continue the big purse craze."

Physical therapist William Case urged designers "to place a cute, educational caution tag on all bags to inform of potential neck and shoulder dangers." - I don't know about you but I felt very patronized by the mention of "cute" educational caution tags.

Anyway, it made me think about how heavy MY everyday bag is because I've had friends comment on how heavy it seems when they should happen to hand it to me for whatever reason.

I'm presently carrying the black Kate Spade tote I got in Hong Kong 3 years ago (it's very similar to this one in size and shape). Contents include:

- wallet
- wristlet (for all my misc cards)
- day planner
- make-up bag (which I rarely open, but you never know when you'll need it)
- small sketch pad
- keys & work security badge
- pair of leather gloves
- pen
- tissues
- gum
- cellphone

All this weighs in at about 5 pounds. Not quite hazardous, but if I included my jewelry biz folder, which was in there last week, I'd probably be in the danger zone. Does this mean I'll lighten the load and edit? Probably not.

I consider myself a bay lady first, and a shoe girl second (but maybe that's because I have ugly feet, heh) I suppose the one thing that saves me is that I don't spend much time in the day carrying the load on my shoulder or arm. It goes from the car to my desk where it remains all day, back to my car and home - all told, I probably carry it for no more than 10 minutes. So why do I have all that stuff with me? I like to be prepared for most eventualities - if for example, I know I'll be riding the subway, I'll drop in a book to read or my iPod to listen to. Maybe I'm a bit of an organized control freak...I don't like to be caught unprepared or bored. I can't help it.


And is it just me, or are the days getting to be a bit longer? It only occurred to me as I was leaving the parking garage at work tonight. I had turned on my headlights underground but realized when I got onto the highway that it was still light enough out that I didn't really need them...this was a little after 5pm. I probably wouldn't have noticed the time if it hadn't been for the fact that it was around this hour at Christmas that I turned out our star lights in the front window.

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