Phone, keys, torch, money, shopping list, lights, hearing aids. This ‘aide memoire’, attached to the mirror in my kitchen, is faded now, a bit like me in my 80th year. Forgetful more and more and not a little scared as closer and closer contemporaries are being told they have early onset – you know what…
When I was invited out for lunch by two grandsons the thought of having them both entirely to myself for a couple of hours filled me with delight. They are grown up working men now but full of fun, well mannered and always kind to me. I was in for a treat!
Checking ‘The List’ when O came to collect me wouldn’t have made any difference. I picked up my phone to bring it, then thought the blasted thing might interrupt an interesting conversation and decided to leave it at home. Only when we were arriving at the restaurant where L was waiting for us, did I (we) realise my phone with its new ‘passport’ (which L had kindly helped me install a few days previously) was sitting on my kitchen table and I wouldn’t be allowed in. What a stupid, silly, old lady I knew I had become.
By this time it was half-past two and the lads must have been starving but they were charm itself. O took over, decided we would go back to my home, collect my phone and find somewhere else nearer to have what was now, probably, going to be ‘dinner’.
He called L who was in the restaurant sitting at the booked table where the waitress had placed an opened bottle of water in front of him. He had not yet touched it and had to call the waitress over to explain what had happened, that he now had to cancel the booking and leave.
“Well, I’ll have to charge you £5.00 for the water,” she said.
L, in shock, replied “I’m not paying £5.00 for a bottle of water!’ A couple of ladies sitting at a nearby table agreed with him and with typical Belfast camaraderie egged him on to just get up and go! Which he did, leaving what can only be surmised as a furious and indignant waitress. L, being a good mimic, made it very funny as we went back to retrieve my ‘passport’ and have a great meal at a restaurant nearer home.
L later told his mum and dad what had occurred and what he had done. He’d given it some thought and had begun to feel bad about it even though he had made it sound amusing. The restaurant had been done out of a ‘cover’ and he had been unfair to a waitress who was only ‘doing her job’. To his undying credit he returned the next day, found the waitress, apologised, paid for the water and gave her a five pound tip. I will love and admire him forever for doing this but now I feel bad – it was MY fault! I owe him a tenner – with interest.
In spite of what must be the irritating and costly consequences of my scatological memory, L still has my best interests at heart. He remembered I was going to Dundonald Omniplex last night with a friend to see a live opera. He rang me just as I was leaving the house where, yes, my phone, with its essential ‘passport’, was lying on the kitchen table…
This morning I realised I keep forgetting to add MASK to ‘The List’. Please, someone tell me I am not alone…
Felicity was born in Cheshire in England in 1941. At the age of five she was dragged, kicking and screaming, to Northern Ireland where she (later) married, had a family and has been living ever since. Among other things, she has been a secretary, a BBC Radio reporter, a veterinary assistant, director of a local Saleroom (Temple Auctions), obtained a degree in Fine and Applied Art at the University of Ulster and has recently published her debut novel, “Days of Wine and Wardrobes”.
She now lives near Lisburn with her cat, Wudi.