The title above is a reference to a short lived satirical tv series broadcast in the early 60’s in the UK and despite me not even being in double digits at the time, it quickly popped into my head as a title when thinking about the subject of this post.
Actually there are several related subjects…..memory, dementia, old age and so on….which all came together this week in ways that were funny, a bit worrying and worst of all, unbelievably tragic.
I’m not going to go into detail about the last “way” as it’s still too raw and despite it not affecting me directly, it has been a traumatic personal experience for my close friends here which will affect them for the rest of their lives. If nothing else it has made me realise that anything innocently uploaded to social media, be it a blog post or a video on YouTube, can become part of a court case years later and basically be twisted to suit the ends of the relevant party.
And that is all I want to say about that. For now.
Needing some light relief from that, the other two “ways” are what the rest of this post will be about…..and lets hope whatever I say will not come back to bite me in the ass and be raised as evidence of my current state of mind in some future court case !
Because as proven this week, you just never know.
Up first is an experience I had last Wednesday when I was in the city centre (Leeds) for the 3rd day of the 4 day court case I was watching as a family friend. During the lunch time break I decided to use part of the time to hunt for a new pill case as the lettering for the days of the week on my old case had been rubbed off over time.
The conversation in first store (Wilko) went as follows………….
Me to an assistant : “Can you help me please ? Do you sell pill cases ?”
Assistant : “Yes we do….follow me“.
(walking behind her I added “they’re sometimes called pill managers and are the cases for holding pills“. I’ve no idea why I felt the need to add these descriptions but I get overly excited talking to new people these days !)
As she was leading me away from the section of the store that MIGHT have what I was after, doubts started to creep in.
She stopped at the first of the houseware aisles and, pointing to products on the bottom shelves she opened her arms like a stage magician and proudly declared…….
“There they are“.
Me to assistant : “Those are pillowcases !”
Assistant : “Yes, that’s what you wanted.”
Me to assistant : “No I wanted pill cases……cases for pills.”
Assistant : “Oh we don’t sell those.”
I immediately knew how Ronnie Barker felt……..
I moved on to a branch of Poundland as I thought this would be the sort of general store that would carry my product…..like a Dollar store in the US.
I looked along the shelves but not finding any cases on my search I knew I could have missed them as items were messed up and all over the place as you tend to find in such stores.
Me to an assistant : “Excuse me, do you sell pill cases ? ”
(After my previous experience I really enunciated every word very carefully)
Assistant (up on a low ladder stocking shelves) : “No, sorry, we don’t.”
Walking towards the exit I saw another assistant and on a whim, decided to ask again.
Me to assistant : “Excuse me, do you sell pill cases ?”
Assistant : “Yes we do; let me show you.”
She led me to a corner of the store I’d missed and there they were……pill cases !
I picked one and on my way to the checkout I passed by the first assistant, still stocking shelves.
Me to assistant (holding up the item): “Hello…it seems you do sell pill cases after all.”
Assistant : “Oh pill cases. I thought you said pillowcases.”
Now despite these experiences, I’m not going to have a thing about my accent or diction. I think people just hear what they expect to hear. I’m going with that anyway !
Later on, after the court case had ended for the day, I wanted to make use of my time in the city centre so went looking for a couple of particular men’s fragrances that had been favourites of mine decades ago and I wanted to know if I would still like them.
Paco Rabanne and Drakkar Noir.
Being 5:30pm, it was a classic winter’s evening, cold and dark with the festively decorated store windows providing most of the light. Walking down Briggate I noticed a department store on the left with, as is usually the case, the perfumes and fragrances section right inside the door. I entered and not being able to find either of my products, I asked for help. An assistant took me to them , slightly hidden away as they are not really “modern” fragrances, especially the Drakkar Noir.
Sadly the DN tester was empty and she opened a drawer to check for another one (but there wasn’t) and I subliminally took in the contents of the drawer before she closed it. I used the Paco Rabanne tester and left the store the same way I’d entered and continued down Briggate.
After only a few yards I saw another window showing perfumes and fragrances so I went in and was again presented with numerous aisles at varying angles so to save time I immediately asked an assistant if they sold either or both of the products I wanted to test. She took me on a short journey around the various aisles and we came first to the Drakkar Noir shelf. She passed me the tester but it was empty.
Me to assistant : “This is freaky as the tester in a previous store was empty too.”
She opened the drawer at the bottom of the shelf to look for another tester and I had a deja vu moment.
Me to assistant : “How weird…this drawer’s contents look just like I’d seen before. ”
As I moved away I suddenly saw the assistant who had helped me earlier and I stopped dead in my tracks, desperately trying to work out what was happening and if I was somehow in an episode of Candid Camera. I literally felt several million brain cells dying there and then and for a few seconds I was actually scared !
Finally it sank in…..I was in the SAME department store – I’d just entered through a different door and with the confusing layout of the fragrance section, I’d not realised I was being taken to the same shelves but from a different direction.
That was the final straw and although I’d worried myself, I decided it had been a long and stressful day and anyway, department stores are laid out like Las Vegas casinos….to confuse us and make it difficult to find the exits.
Adding to my sense of unease, I’d also popped into a couple of stores looking for “leisure shoes” and felt as out of my comfort zone as an adult in a kindergarten. Everyone, and I mean everyone, shoppers and assistants, looked like they were still a few years off needing to shave and after an initial wander around the aisles, I left before one of them asked me if I needed a sit down.
As it happens I would really have appreciated a seat !
As I left JD Sports, I passed a “bouncer” at the door and muttered “I feel SO old.”
To his eternal credit and despite probably thinking it, he mercifully just kept the obvious reply to himself and just smiled at me. And yes I did feel as if my head had been patted.
So all in all it was a mixed bag of old age issues that day which seemed very appropriate considering the court case I was watching unfold this week.
I’ve certainly had a few truisms hit me in the face this week…….
- despite being retired for the last 15 years, or maybe because of it, I still don’t deal well with stress.
- be careful what you put on social media.
- although not being quite at the “why am I standing in the kitchen” stage, I am getting occasional signs of a mental slowdown.
- operating on 3-4 hrs sleep for a few days in a row does not work for me and (hopefully) may explain the previous truism.
- for my self confidence, I need to stay out of JD Sports.
- eating at a subway twice in a week gets me double points.
By the way, just in case you’re wondering, I settled on the Paco Rabanne because I finally did find a Drakkar Noir tester and having tried it, I have no idea why I liked it in the first place !
At least that’s one memory I don’t mind losing.