Missing Purse Blues
19 May 2006
Mrs Monk lost her purse again today. She got herself into yet another frenzy, searching for the lost package of credit cards and store cards. The same thing happened yesterday when I was able to find it for her, and spare her some anxiety.
When she leaves the house particularly when leaving for school, I despair at the sight of the unfastened bags and their overflowing content: loose papers flapping, make-up bags, swimming togs, spare parts, bank statements, toothpaste, medical appliances, lunch, water bottles, homework, soduku books and other essentials, ostensibly there to see her through the day.
She asked me quietly if had seen her Ipod the other day and as far as I know it has not reappeared, but she has not dared to ask me again. The loss of the purse is another matter since we are bound to cancel all those cards if she fails to find it. I glared at her in familiar disbelief as she looks for her missing purse, in unlikely places like the bread bin.
She compensated for her loss by yelling at me, as if I were somehow responsible. and she left the house in a temper, as I feigned disinterest in her problem.
After she had been gone for some time, she phoned me and asked me to, “look in the drawer where I keep my chocolate”.
She had returned to Waitrose where she last used her purse an hour ago, and where she had another purse-loosing episode, also recorded in these pages.
I looked in the drawer where she keeps her chocolate and found no purse.
“There is no purse in the drawer where you keep your chocolate,” I said. “Why would you put it there?” I said.
She hung up the phone without saying another word.
Half an hour later, I answered a knock at the door and two ladies stood there facing me. I recognised one lady since she is the lady opposite, that cleans her windows and brushes her front path every single day. I did not recognise the other lady but she was wearing an apron and a tea shirt that carried the message promoting The Leigh Sandwich Bar, which is at the end of the road.
These ladies had only just met and were jointly delivering to me, Mrs Monk’s purse, and they did so with good grace and some pleasure.
This is what happened.
A young man, Oliver, has the job of delivering free newspapers in the neighbourhood. We had met and chatted with Oliver about his job, and he was philosophical about the futility of his task, since he was well aware that nobody actually reads free papers.
It was Oliver who found the purse in the street where Mrs Monk dropped it, and walked it up to his mother, who worked at The Leigh Sandwich Bar. Oliver’s Mother found a prescription in the purse, walked up to the nearest chemist, where the pharmacist was able to tell her where we lived.
The lady that cleans her windows relayed the whole story to me and apologised for going through Mrs Monk’s wallet, and when Mrs Monk returned home soon thereafter, she told the whole story again and again and apologised again unnecessarily.
Mrs Monk found the ten pounds that she knew was in the wallet and passed it on to Oliver, who could have stolen it, or invoked the finders-keepers principle, but didn’t.
Mrs Monk’s mood changed and she found a new jar in which to hide her precious items. Sadly, she is a forgetful squirrel with too many jars in too many hiding places.