When I was hanging around the Zurich Airport yesterday..several hours to kill before getting a flight to Boston, where things were delayed by a snowstorm...I was irritated by the canvas tote bag in which I was carrying my lapotop, my purse, and assorted other stuff. It had once zipped closed, but Alfie had chewed the zipper once in a fit of bad puppy behavior. And one of the two leather handles had come loose. I kept noticing that as I roamed the airport.

Then I noticed an airport shop that sold, among other things, luggage. I didn't need luggage but I thought it would be a good time and place to replace my failing canvas tote bag. And I found just what I needed, with a roomy padded section for my laptop, and lots of pockets of various sorts. And it snapped closed. So I bought it, transferred all my stuff, and threw the old one in a trash can.

Its price was in Swiss francs. I don't know anything about Swiss francs. Ask me abut pounds, or Euros, and I can tell you. But Swiss francs? Not a clue. The bag, though, cost 275 of them. I paid for it with a credit card, assuming it was like the old Italian lira, where you paid thousands for an ice cream cone and then it turned out to be two dollars in American money.

But now I am here to tell you that I was wrong, it wasn't like lira at all. I just went to a currency-conversion website to see how much 275 Swiss francs is in dollars.

And folks: I just paid $250.00 for a canvas bag.