After the trauma of the break-in, I admit to finding it a little hard to concentrate. I have had a big clean-out of my email in-tray, for example, instead of working on my lecture for next week or the several other tasks at hand. But I was going ok, holding it all together to give Joel a sense of normality, until this afternoon, when I was in the supermarket. I'd left my trolley by the bananas, with my green recyclable shopping bags sitting on top, while I'd gone round to pick up some nectarines, and when I came back, I saw an old woman calmly taking one of my bags to put her grapes in.
I said, "Isn't that my bag?" and I swear she said, "I'm a beggar; I'm taking it, ok?" Of course I just shrugged ironically. Who is going to dispute ownership of a $1 bag with an old woman in her slippers? Not I. What am I going to do? I'm going to start collecting my own grapes and mushrooms, sobbing quietly into my hands. I have to keep going, because Joel is at his music lesson and I have to pick him up at 5.30, but I can't stop crying. No one comes to my aid. Clearly, if you run down the street in your socks yelling "stop thief" it's exciting and dramatic, but a middle-aged woman sobbing over the fruit and vegetables on a Friday night? Oh well, what would you expect?
I got as far as the check-out, still sobbing and shaking, clearly experiencing a delayed reaction of vulnerability and shock, and just wishing it would be one of those Fridays when I run into my friend Hannah at the supermarket. I looked up, and there she was, just exactly the right person to meet. I had had dinner with her the previous night, so she knew the whole story, and just hung on tight till I had stopped sobbing.
I'm ok now. Joel is at a friend's house; Paul is on his way home from the US; and everything's right with the world.
Oh. I do turn 50 tomorrow. Anyone else signing up for Earth Hour to help me celebrate? Because, truly, not everything is all right with the world...