Sunday, March 07, 2010

bag, key, forgotten

Shades of blue discarded in a cobbled alley.

A healthy looking man goes to the front of the queue at the Customer Help counter in Sainbury's. "Excuse me," he says to the people at the head of the queue and to the young man behind the counter: "Could I have the key to the disabled toilets". There is a pronounced hint of embarrassed laughter in his voice, implying a degree of urgency. There is no problem. Only sympathy for whomever is in need. The keys are handed over. But a child with her mother, in front of the queue, is quick to spot, without fully understanding it, a vestige of social unease: "Why is he laughing?" she asks.

As I walk down Mount Sion this afternoon, I stop and about turn. The man coming up the hill, whom I am about to pass, asks sympathetically: "Lost something?" I say: "I've forgotten something". It's either something you have lost or something that you have forgotten, that at my age causes anyone to turn and climb back up the slope, which he has just descended with a light heart.
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1 comment:

Roderick Robinson said...

Laughter - forced and insincere - is perhaps the most useful way of covering up embarrassment. But then we approach that subject from different ends of the binoculars, and I'll say no more.

Propinquity an aid to memory. I am in the kitchen and I suddenly recognise there is something I need to do. But first I must do something else. By the time I've done that "something else" I've forgotten the first task. So I move back to the point in the kitchen where initial recognition occurred. And, on about 50 per cent of occasions, the memory is re-triggered.