Is it an evening bag with a broken strap?
In my quest for knowledge, I asked my wife what she thinks the thing is. She thinks it's a small computer with a dangling power cord. The author said it's a journal.
UPDATE: This is a modified version of the original post, which was unnecessarily provocative. I had said that men don't use journals. Apparently some do. But if I need to do some impromptu alfresco writing, I'll use an iPad, not a paper journal.