Mary Poppins Problems

The inner contents of your purse are hereditary. We work with the hand bag we’re dealt.

Bound by a legacy in which your mother treated her purse like a trough, your own bags now serve as the storage vessel for silverware, tampons, receipts, old apples, nine tweezers and at least one burgeoning airborne disease.

Such disorganization both figuratively and literally spills into the rest of your home, which at any one time is host to between six and nine plastic grocery bags full of loose papers and napkins.

Fortunately, you have the wherewithal to always keep one very important envelope in your desk drawer, the contents of which include your car title, social security card and passport. Easy to find for owner and burglar alike.

Days of yore when you knew where you passport was.

Days of yore when I knew where my passport was.

But with a trip to Europe less than two months away, you decide to pay your passport a visit. Just double-check it’s still there and simultaneously confirm you haven’t been the victim of a beautifully executed home invasion.

You walk into your bedroom, open the desk drawer and fumble around for the envelope. Odd. It must be on the left side.

A few minutes later, the contents of both drawers are spilled onto your floor and you’re working your way through a small stroke. But hey—no need to panic. There are still eight bags full of papers to work your way through.

Beginning calmly enough, the process quickly devolves into you hunched under a lamp, examining something you’re positive is a bed bug. Upon further inspection, an apple seed. Equally unnerving, no actual apple found.

You make your way into the kitchen and stress-pound three pecan swirls. If you choke to death, it won’t matter where your personal effects are hiding.

Get your shit together, you tell yourself, recalling a quote from the late Maya Angelou. “You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Maya would not associate herself with someone who handles such challenges by single-handedly keeping the Tastykake corporation afloat.

You eat one more pecan swirl and heroically return to the task at hand. With all grocery bags dumped and sorted, your next job is looking through each of the 250 books you own—the place you once hid your passport many years ago.

You reason that the passport must be hidden in the most boring book on the shelf, a place no friend, foe or armed criminal would ever look. Naturally, you go straight for the Norton Anthology of English Literature.

“Burn in Hell, you piece of college garbage!” you whimper, the book as useless and passport-devoid as it was when you were a sophomore.

An hour later, you’ve combed through every novel you own. And while you still can’t find your passport, you did come across your best friend’s book—the one you swore up and down to her you did not have.

You retreat to your bedroom closet, sit on the floor and begin crying like the grown-ass 28-year-old woman who you are. Your back hurts, the apartment is a disaster and some woman in Nebraska is most definitely refinancing a mortgage in your name.

Eyes closed and teetering on the edge of insanity, you recall a distant memory—your elementary school librarian soothing distraught children who couldn’t find the books they had checked out. “You didn’t lose it,” she’d always say, “you just misplaced it.”

An explanation any reasonable TSA agent would understand.

With the spirit of Mrs. Swisher’s words guiding you, you suddenly notice the set of plastic storage drawers tucked against the closet wall. You open the second drawer, move a piece of paper, the clouds lift and there it is—your passport, social security card and car title.

Mother, mother, mother.

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