Show and Tell: Briefcase Archaeology

June 7, 2009

Show and TellThis week for Show and Tell I present two pieces of paper. They have nothing in common in terms of content, but they have the same source…

Briefcase archaology!

You know how sometimes you get out a handbag you haven’t used in a while, and you find strange things inside? Ticket stubs to movies you forgot you saw; that lipstick you looked for everywhere; a phone number for someone you no longer want to call; already-been-chewed gum (ick).

It turns out that the same thing applies to briefcases.

(FYI, between full-fledged briefcases, computer bags, and handbags that are suitable for holding papers, I have more than a dozen bags I could take to work on any given day. Yet, when not going to work, I’m as likely to have a handbag as I am to carry just a wallet and keys in my hand.)

Archaeological find #1: Receipt inside work-issued computer bag meant to hold work-issued laptop.


The bag was issued to me in late 2008, but this receipt that I found inside is dated 2005. This presumably means that the receipt has sat in this bag undisturbed despite the bag having passed through several pairs of hands. I wonder if anyone else found the receipt and left it there, or if I am the first person to find it. I also wonder if the original owner needed the receipt at some point, searched, then gave up, never realizing that it was crammed into a pocket in the work-issued laptop bag.

An especially fun feature of the receipt is that it’s in Spanish. Based on what I can figure out from the address of the supermarket, it seems to be from Argentina.

Archaeological find #2: List of books to purchase inside my large brown leather briefcase.

I have one briefcase that I used to use regularly at one point in my life, then my work bag needs changed, and it sat idle in my closet for several years until recently. The length of the hiatus became obvious when I found this piece of paper.


In case you can’t read it: it’s a list of pregnancy books. I made this list in 2001, in preparation for starting to try to conceive. As with most things in life, I painstakingly researched the best books on the topic (including one fertility awareness book), then comparison-shopped for the best price (the little notes written next to some entries), then purchased them. By the time I got my first “hey, what are you doing here?” period, I had read most of them. You can never say I was unprepared for pregnancy, just unprepared for infertility.

They sat on my nightstand until Miscarriage #1 in 2004, then they sat hidden in a box until last week. They’re not much good to me now anyway, since many of them are out of date, but they deserved to come out of hiding and take their rightful place on the bookshelf.

Want to know something funny? One of the books was in its 4th edition when I started TTC. I just bought the most updated version: the 8th edition.

Funny, right? Are you laughing yet?

7 years of infertility… hilarious!

10 Responses to “Show and Tell: Briefcase Archaeology”

  1. Carrie Says:

    I can’t believe there was a receipt in their still from a previous owner.

    My mom jumped the gun with my first pregnancy that ended in m/c and I shipped all the little things she bought back with her. I didn’t want to see any of it.

    Speaking of books….I have a few if you would be interested in any.

  2. Kristin Says:

    I’m always amazed at what I find when I go through old bags.

  3. shinejil Says:

    I love finding old business cards from people in foreign countries I can’t recall meeting at all. If only because it reminds me of those carefree days of intensive exploration.

    Actually, I still have a few of them floating around in a purse I’ve used for years.

  4. I think that person in Argentina bought some yummy candy!

  5. Lavender Luz Says:

    Painfully funny.

    Really, it’s so like the list I carried in my head.

    What? No ABC gum?

  6. Ooo, I love this kind of archeaology.

    Wow, a recipt from Argentina. Doubt they needed it to claim on their expense form but you’re right, they probably searched for it and then gave up.

    Your list of books is very telling. I think we all start out never imagining that our paths won’t match the chapters you’ll find in those books. I wonder how much has changed from your 4th edition to the new 8th edition?

  7. Um, no! Not funny at all – that totally sucks. What strikes me most is the innocense, I think. It’s so ironic – there are so many of us IFers who are such planners – we do our research and plan in advance. But who ever plans for IF?? I’m so sorry.

    We recently found the list of crib mattresses that DH had made – he was in charge of researching mattresses and car seats. Ugh.

  8. a Says:

    Have you seen my reading list? Because I can’t find it anywhere. I had to start over. Of course, mine is more oriented to things I like to read, rather than research, so it won’t be unpleasant should I ever find it again.

    Every time I go through my purses, I find a receipt for something or other purchased on one of my trips to Italy. I guess I like the reminder that I used to go places! I was cleaning out some drawers and boxes recently, and came across two things of interest (to me, anyway). First was a card from my grade school graduation – it was from my sister’s friend, with whom I recently connected on Facebook. It said she still owes me a gift. I haven’t tried to collect on it yet, because I don’t remember after 27 years if she ever delivered. The second was a card from a friend of my MIL’s that we received after we lost our first baby. My husband told me that this friend had lost a child (I think her son was 10 or so when he died), so it was especially meaningful to have something from someone with a little better understanding of what we were going through.

    Briefcase archeology is fascinating.

  9. Jamie Says:

    Funny, but not in a ha-ha sort of way.

    I like your name for it – briefcase archeology! That is too funny! I don’t have a lot of bags/briefcases but I sort of have the same experience with coat pockets. No matter how small, it gives me a little perk in the fall.

  10. I love briefcase archaeology. What a wonderful name for it.

    The list of pregnancy books is also interesting expression of innocence lost.

    Right now, I’m having problems going into our nursery, even though it’s beautiful and that’s where the most comfortable chair in the house lives. Every time I look at the little jacket hanging over the changing table and all of the little hangers in the closet and the clever bird decal on the wall, I think, “This room is going to really hurt me if something goes wrong.”

    I feel bad that I no longer have the innocence to enjoy the nursery (my husband had to put it together all by himself), and sometimes I’m a little sad that I can’t experience pregnancy w/ the rose-colored glasses of someone who didn’t go through IF. But it is what it is. And I know I’ll love the nursery once it has an actually baby in it.

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