Sunday, 15 April 2018

Shaking the lead out of my bag

I recall an old black-and-white Bob Hope/Bing Crosby comedy film, called Road to Rio I think, in which there is a sub-plot involving a band of dusty desperadoes who are riding furiously to get to some place in time, as if they were the proverbial Seventh Cavalry coming to the rescue. I mean really riding hard, galloping like crazy. Every now and then the film, which otherwise concerns the languid amorous adventures of Bob and Bing, cuts to these horsemen, and each time their leader turns around in his saddle and shouts something to make everyone ride even faster. On one occasion, when they are already clearly exceeding the speed of light, it's 'Shake the lead out of your horses!' For some reason this line has always stuck with me. I'd love to say the same thing if I get the chance.

Anyway, going cashless - using my phone as the main way of paying - seems like a great opportunity to shake the lead out of my big orange bag. In other words, to conduct a deep rationalisation process, so that I'm less weighed down with all manner of 'just in case' stuff, and can gallop to the rescue that much more easily.  

I'm thinking, for instance, that I need to get rid of the traditional purse, containing not only money but a mass of sundry items like my driving licence, plastic cards galore, stamps, and a collection of business cards. Do I really need to keep all this with me? In one big purse?

A purse is an obvious target for theft, easily snatched or lifted, and most of the things kept in it are rarely needed from day to day, and certainly not when at the till in my usual shops. A lot of it could be left at home, where it would be more secure anyway. The essential stuff (driving licence, loyalty cards, membership cards) could go into a handy little wallet - very easily carried, very easily concealed. This little wallet, the all-purpose phone, and my keys, would be my minimum bare-bones kit for going out.

I wouldn't need much of a bag, if carrying only this: it could be something small and sweet - not too fancy a brand, not too expensive - with a cross-body strap to keep both hands free. Something you could easily keep an eye on, or wear all the time, even when seated. Something you could even wear under a coat without looking odd. All this might be important in busy crowded places where the light-fingered lurk.

I suppose I'd still have to carry a small cache of emergency banknotes and coins. Mostly notes, enough to get me home. Plus of course lipstick, comb and tissues. And perhaps a little torch. Maybe a pen too. But no more: I'd make it a principle to be as lightly encumbered as possible.

What about umbrella, scarf, gloves, and cardigan? Well, coats and jackets have pockets. Pockets are not just for tissues. And I do have a shopping bag. And a wicker basket. And indeed an under-used rucksack. If I'm lightly-laden, might I go for long country walks more often?

Right. Thanks to Google Pay, I'm ready to streamline myself.


  1. Inspie by your post, I looked into using Google Pay. Unfortunately it doesn't work with any of the credit cards I carry - Barclaycard, Tesco or First Direct. So, at least for now, I will stay faithful to plastic money.

  2. That should have been "Inspired by..." Darned smartphone keypads!

  3. Samsung Pay is supposed to be good, too. It might work with the cards you mentioned. I'm really surprised that Google Pay doesn't.



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