I have absolutely no problems at all with growing older, there is a joy in maturity that frees you from the angst-making neurotisism of youth that I’m finding hugely liberating….However, I could really do with NOT forgetting where I put everything.
Maybe it’s the menopause, maybe its early onset madness or too much gin, but what ever, I’m a bit bored with forgetting where I’ve put things THE MOMENT AFTER I’ve put them down.
Recently I lost one of my best friend’s handbags.
Lorna and I can frequently be found rummaging for gems at Hammersmith Vintage fair, a beautifully edited selection of stalls set up in the best bit of Hammersmith Town Hall (crappy 60s Brutalist outside, decorative 40s inside). Its a great atmosphere, friendly, informative and we lose ourselves in the vintage experience, wandering around stroking fabrics, stalking Lucinda Chambers (Vogue’s creative director and a frequent visitor) admiring cut and wishing we were able to fit into more of the tiny vintage outfits.
It’s very relaxed and we try things on all the time, when this happens I look after Lorna’s handbag and she does the same for me.
Last time we went, she spotted a gorgeous 40s jacket -her vintage decade of choice- and thrust her bags at me to supervise. There was a handy chair to put the bag pile on. I stood by it. Then after a bit, I realised I couldn’t see Lorna’s tan leather shoulderbag.
Me ‘Have you got your handbag?’
Lorna ‘No, you have it’
Me ‘Ummm, no I don’t seem to..’
Lorna “Yes (firmly), yes you have ”
Me (increasingly panicky) ‘Ummm, no…”
Cue that sick, stomach plummeting feeling when you know something’s gone horribly, horribly wrong….a panic that freezes your brain and stops time, that makes you sweat sheer horror through every pore. Put that with my increasing inability to remember where I’ve put things and we’re suddenly in Crisis Management Territory. The bag has gone.
Lorna and I search the chair, search the area around the chair…no handbag
Lorna carries her entire world in her handbag, EVERYTHING of importance is in it, coincidentally we wrote about it here so you can see that she does. She tries very hard not to scream at me, instead her frustration comes out as tears…and she goes a deathly white colour too and I realise I might kill her as well as ruin her life.
“It can’t have been stolen’ she sobs, ‘everyone here is too nice’. It does seem hard to believe that anyone attending the fair would be responsible as it is such a friendly place, but we realise the bag is nowhere to be seen. It has definitely gone.
We report it to the organisers, who are helpful and efficient at planning what to do. Everyone is sympathetic to the increasingly frail-looking Lorna, I am feeling more wretched than I can describe as it happened on my watch. We phone security, leave telephone numbers, acknowledge disaster.
Lorna still hasn’t throttled me but it’s on her mind.
I have an idea, when I ran a shop, thieves would empty stolen handbags of their loot in the loos, so I start to dash to the nearest bathroom, when I feel unnaturally heavy on the right hand side of my body…
I look down and there, dangling happily where I put it not more than ten minutes earlier, is Lorna’s handbag. Hung on my shoulder.
I feel stupid, relieved, frustrated with my memory and elated with joy all in the same micro-moment. Lorna is so relieved she forgets to be cross with me and everything gets back to normal.
Almost. I am left feeling hideously miserable that I could forget something as simple as putting the wretched bag on my shoulder. Is this the future? If it is then please can someone invent an app for retracing the last ten minutes of your life in pictures so you can keep an eye on yourself?