“Oh Tony, you’re hopeless! Why do you always forget everything? Buying stuff, paying bills, remembering things we need to get?”
“Sorry, I do try.”
My wife was always reminding me how forgetful I am, and it’s true. When I’m doing one thing I get caught up in it and forget everything else, so the little things go by the way, as she never failed to remind me.
“Honestly, Tony, you drive me up the wall! I told you last night we needed a lot of things from the shops, but as usual, you forgot!”
She was right, but this morning, I really didn’t need the hassle: I had an important meeting at work at ten, and I was concentrating on all the bits and pieces I needed to do to prepare for my presentation to the council on Town Planning in the 21st century, that could well turn out to be an important milestone in my career at the town hall.
“You can do the shopping on your way,” she went on.
“For goodness sake!”
“No excuses, Tony! The supermarket opens at eight, you’ve got plenty of time and if you don’t do it now, you know you’ll have forgotten by tonight. You never forget the important things like birthdays and anniversaries, I grant you, you’re always kind and thoughtful. But life is all about doing all the boring bits and pieces, remembering all the little things that matter!”
“Okay,” I agreed reluctantly. “You win, where’s the list?”
“I put it in your jacket pocket, because I knew you’d forget to take it off the table.”
I put the mobile back in my pocket, reflecting that it had been a hectic day so far. On my morning run in the park I’d come across some poor guy asleep on the park bench, all wrapped up in a duvet.
I felt really sorry for the man, who had probably only just managed to fall asleep after the night’s terrible wind and rain. I felt in my pocket, and to my relief found five one-pound coins.
But how could I give them to him without waking him up, I wondered? Then I hit upon the idea of placing them carefully on his chest, so that they’d be the first thing he saw when he woke up. I recalled that there was a hot-dog stand not far away, and it was a comforting thought that at least the poor down-and-out bloke could at least have a bit of a breakfast and a hot drink when he woke up.
I drove hell-for-leather to the supermarket, but after I’d parked and rushed into the store, I went to the trolley stand, and put my hand in my pocket for one of the pound coins I always keep there for getting trolleys.
With frustration I realised that I’d given all my coins to the tramp in the park, having forgotten to retain the one I needed. I have a serious back problem and carrying any kind of weight sets if off, so a trolley was normally a must. However, the only way to get a pound was to join the long queue at Customer Services, and I simply didn’t have the time.
Halfway round the store, I was busy loading the pair of hand-baskets when the worst happened.
My back went.
The ghastly pain was so bad, I not only couldn’t walk, I could barely stand. Dropping the baskets, I sank to my knees, then collapsed to the ground in agony.
A crowd soon gathered and someone called an ambulance, but it was as if time stood still and I thought about the important lecture I couldn’t give, and why oh why had I forgotten to retain one of the pound coins for the life-saving trolley?
The crowded A and E department was where I spent the next few hours. The paramedics had given me an injection, and I was on my back on a trolley waiting my turn. Next to me was a man in a wheelchair, and something about his face was familiar.
“What happened to you?” I asked him, wondering if he would recognise me too and trigger my own memory.
“A run of really bad luck.” He gave a rueful grin and shook his heavily bandaged head. “Last night, my girlfriend and I had this huge argument and she threw me out, with only a duvet to wrap up in. It was past midnight, and I had no alternative but to spend the night on a park bench. The wind and rain were bloody awful, but I managed to finally nod off about dawn, until two guys woke me up, pulling at my duvet and they started fighting. I got mixed up in the brawl and had my jaw broken.”
“Why were they fighting?”
“Turned out that there were some coins on my chest that they were trying to nick. Some well-meaning Herbert must have put them there while I was asleep.”
“What’s that old proverb?” I replied, talking to myself really. “No good deed goes unpunished.”
“Oh well, it was cheering in one way.” He smiled at me. “It’s nice to know that in this hard heartless world there are still some people haven’t forgotten how to be kind.”
(image courtesy Lars Eriksson, from Pixabay)