Friday, 18 September 2009

Losing It

I had a strange experience in the week, totally of my own making. I visited a large new shopping centre in Derby called Westfield with my wife, mother-in law and sister-in-law; my daughter Alison joined the group a few minutes later.
On arrival I needed to look for something in the old market adjoining the centre so off I went, arranging to meet up on the ground floor (there are two levels) a few minutes later. A typically loose arrangement on my part. Mistake number one, no actual place mentioned. Mistake number two, on return I immediately realised I had spectacularly underestimated how big the place was. There are hundreds of shops and eating establishments spread over the two floors. Mistake number three, guess who is the only adult in the whole of the western world who doesn't possess a mobile phone. I spent at least fifteen minutes walking up and down the concourses. It soon became obvious if the group were in a shop, as was likely, I would pass on by oblivious. I spent at least another fifteen minutes sitting on seats provided studying passersby to no avail. I have never seen so many grey haired geriatrics in my life. Plus there seemed to be a cross section of every shape and size individuals on the planet passing by, put there presumably for my delectation. All very well but no-one remotely related.
I had briefly spoken to a security man at the beginning of my search. As I sat bemused pondering a life to be now spent in the Westfield Centre (have you ever seen the film of the man who lived at an airport for a year or two) the guard passed by again.
"No luck" he said.
"Dead right" I said.
And bingo, my problems were solved. He had a phone in his hand and he enquired as to whether anyone had lost a five feet four, bemused, confused, hopelessly inept, aged male who obviously should not have been out on his own, (my description, not his, he was kindly and helpful). And the answer cometh back, four adults plus a five month old (very bright, my grandchildren) had reported missing someone wearing distinctive corduroy trousers fitting that description. The concerned gentleman escorted me, somewhat like a lost child only a short distance and I was reunited with my amused family. (Evidently there is a loud speaker system but only used for lost children, not lost sixty nine year olds. Though the question had been asked when I was reported missing, was I on medication.)
I felt a a total prat, pillock and a few other things besides. I was also annoyed with myself and not a little embarrassed. Inherent in all this are more serious questions. Am I losing it and nobody dare tell me. Are we the last to know in these circumstances. Presumably I'm just a silly old fogey or are there more serious implications. Do people with Alzheimer's know they have it or are they again the last to know. Any comments gratefully received.
A year or two ago I wrote a short story and guess what was it was about. You've got it, an old man who loses his wife whilst out shopping. Perhaps it's right, art mirrors real life or whatever.
The short, or not so short story follows for anyone who wishes to read it.


AGuidingLife said...

No you don't have Alzheimer's!! For a start you can still spell it!! You suffer from the widespread disease "lookapratus". It befalls us all at different stages. It usually makes you want to shout out "I'm normal you know, I held down a job for many years" but people just stare at you with sympathy and gratefulness (that for once it was you and not them)!

PS GET A PHONE!!!! (and you gave me my first full on belly chuckle of the week - appreciated)

Lakeland Jo said...

my husband is forty and he has absolutely no sense of direction, especially in malls. He always comes out of the shop and goes in the wrong direction. It amazes me. He has just been to London on business- I am amazed I got him back in one piece! He does use taxis though- if he got on the bus or the tube I may never see him again
Great post- very funny.

Lakeland Jo said...

ps- think carefully about the phone.... I got one for my mum but she doesnt understand how to use it.

Annette said...

I know what it's like,I work in Asda supermarket and we are always having elderly men coming up to the customer service desk and asking very meekly if we could put out a call for their wives!!
They've lost them!!
Great blog, as usual.

Marian Dean said...

My husband and I are always losing each other when we part whilst out shopping... no matter how many times we emphasis where and when we will meet up, we always end up missing each other. Like you he won't contemplate a mobile phone, so he has had to at times resort to going home and ringing me to my mobile from there.
There must be an easier way.

Love Granny

The bike shed said...

Serves you right for going shopping - you really should know better!
That's what the internet is for these days.

Troy said...

I don't know if this of any interest to you but I did actually meet the "man at the airport for a year or two". It was Paris CdG Airport and he has been there for quite a lot longer than two years. Months later when I passed through he was still there - it seemed impossible to imagine his life when I thought of all my varied experiences in the time in between.

VioletSky said...

But, did you get what you went searching for in the "old market"?

Valerie said...

Kelloggsville: giggles at 'lookapratus'
Ken, I felt for you during that story. I suppose someone manaaged to convince you that it's easily done. Lose the family I mean. I keep trying! Getting a phone would be a wise just-in-case move. Cruising recently even my old man learned the advantage of texting - all over the ship... where are you? and RU there?

Anonymous said...

LOL! This made me chuckle. I don't think you're losing it. I am 23 and I did just that not so long ago (funnily enough in a shopping centre called Westfield in London) - only my phone saved me the embarrassment of having to go on the intercom...

By the way there are two people in the western world who don't own a cell phone, as my dad refuses to buy one too. We don't take him shopping...

Grumpy Old Ken said...



It was being led by the guard that got to me!
Might, only might get a phone. I'm wavering!

Lakeland Jo
Thanks. Your husband has cheered me up!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thanks. And your asda experience made me laugh.


Great! Also great to know I'm not alone!

Grumpy Old Ken said...


I switch off literally when I'm shopping. Which is why I get lost of course! Internet shopping, no chance!


Very interesting. What a life and as you say, he is doing gthis whilst life goes on elsewhere.

Grumpy Old Ken said...


You're not going to believe this, non of can remember what I went for and I came back with nothing!!


My wife texes but it seems mad to me. Did you ever read the 5th blog I ever wrote. (April 2008?) I've not come on any I reckon!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Westfield again! Makes you wonder. Love the comment' We don't take him shopping!'

Von said...

Purchase that mobile phone if only to look at the time and locate lost relatives.You weren't lost were you, they were?