Monday, September 17, 2012
It's A Man Thing
Just as they were about to leave the Garden of Eden, Eve found Adam rushing around in a blind panic.
“I’ve lost my figleaf,” he shouted, furiously scrabbling through a pile of half-eaten apples. “I can’t go out without it.”
With a heavy sigh, Eve pointed down: “Adam, you’re wearing it.”
It’s a man thing, apparently. We were born to lose stuff.
I spent a large part of the week searching for two separate credit cards. I blame the warm weather. Without a jacket, I can’t carry my wallet, so I pop a card into a shirt pocket. I then forget where it is and have to ring the bank to cancel it. I wait five days for a replacement, which comes through the door just as Jo emerges from the laundry room to say: I found this credit card in your shirt.
That’s why I have two of everything: spectacles, car keys, dogs, wives – you always keep a spare in case you lose one (I was kidding about the spare wife – I couldn’t possibly afford another). But banks don’t let men have duplicate cards, so I just cram them all into my packed wallet, alongside my driving licence, store cards, membership cards and ancient Waitrose receipts: in short, my entire life is held in one bulging piece of leather.
It drives Jo mad. “You’ll lose it and your world will fall apart,” she warns.
“Nonsense. I always know where it is. I have never lost my wallet.” Last week I lost my wallet.
I knew I had it the night before, because I remembered using a card to get £400 in cash. When I came into the house Jo said, “Why is your wallet so full?” and I said, “Because I just put in £400 in cash.”
She said, “You’ll lose it”, and I said: “Nonsense”.
It takes me about forty minutes to do a proper wallet-rummage. I start in our bathroom and work down, via the dining table, to the fridge. I don’t like it when I leave it in the fridge – the leather gets all clammy. This time, mid-rummage, I found my spare spectacles, which had cunningly transported themselves to a fruit bowl. They were next to the final renewal notice for the house insurance, which had now expired. But I couldn’t renew it right then, because I didn’t have a credit card. It was in my wallet. Which was lost.
I went back through my day. The male brain has an extraordinary ability to forget things that happened ten seconds ago. Everything thirty years back is crystal clear, but short term: it’s just a fog.
I remembered I went to the village store after I dropped Izzy off at pre-school and didn’t have my wallet. That’s why I was looking for it. I said, “How much is that?” and they said “£6.49”, and I looked on the counter and my wallet wasn’t there, and it wasn’t in the car, and I drove home and said, “I’ve lost my wallet”. That was the sum total of my recollection.
“You took Izzy to school,” she reminded me. Then I remembered the roof.
I’d put the wallet on the car roof while I was strapping Izzy into her seat. It had vanished. So while Jo scoured the drive, I drove back to the shop at 4 miles an hour. Even tractors laden with hay bales overtook me.
No sign of it on the road. Back home, Jo said “I told you.” So I picked up the phone to the bank.
And then the most miraculous thing happened. A strange car came down the drive. A man and a woman got out.
“We were just driving down the road and the sky was full of £20 notes. It looked like something from a film”.
This lovely couple had chased them down the lane and into the ditch and retrieved every single one, including the Waitrose receipts.
“Did he leave it on the roof?” the woman asked Jo.
“How did you know?” said my wife.
“Mine does it all the time with mobile phones.”
“It’s a man thing,” they said in unison.