How Useful Are The Things You Forget?

Dedicated to anyone who has lost something precious and personal, especially a handbag

Losing your handbag.  Whether carelessness or theft, it’s a thump to the guts isn’t it?  You feel winded, shocked, angry, assaulted, upset. You curse and scold yourself. The realisation of what you have to cancel, replace, make do without, have lost forever can be head-spinning, nauseating.

But just how well do we know what we’ve got where? What is in the handbag now travelling solo on the Tube, and what is in the purse safely in your coat pocket? And what is somewhere else entirely – sometimes somewhere so safe that we’ve forgotten where it is all-together.

And as you start to regain some equilibrium in this chaotic sea, the realisation of the possible harm hits home.  Oh heavens – those James Freedman warnings of why driving  licence and keys and bank cards  should never be kept together,  how easy it is for a malcontent  to clear out your bank account, steal your identity, burgle your home.

But is not the real puzzler, not what you’ve lost but what you don’t know you’ve lost?  The personal nuggets in the corners of the pockets in your bag. The bit of paper with the PIN numbers you should never write down.  The folded up and folded again cheque you’ve been waiting to pass a bank to cash. The business card of a key contact. Your kid’s first tooth. A letter from your long-dead much-missed grandparent. The USB stick with those photos on it.

It could be something or it could be nothing, but the disconcerting and unnerving thing is that we don’t know, and so we don’t know how useful the things we forget can be – both to us and others.

Just like life really!

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