The stress of going away. We’ve all been there. A unique feeling of general anxiety and occasional terror.
Passports, turning the oven off, enough pairs of underpants, deodorant, water-proofs? Do you think it will rain? We’re going to Scotland. It could be cold… Sun cream?
Like most people, our trip is the first in two years and so we are out of practise. Tessa our dog is a big contributor to my anxiety because somehow she knows of our impending absence and is doing her best to either be included in the trip or for us to abandon our plans altogether; sitting in a suit case, by the front door and using those eyes of hers to look painfully mournful. Tom duly arrives and picks her up – his dog by rights although by now, she is my dog and everyone in the family knows this.
Our taxi is booked for 10am. I have been up for hours and I feel smug because everything is in order. I check that the oven is off again, that the back door is locked and I ram another pair of underpants in to my case, just in case. Keys – check. Wallet – check. Oven off – check.
But where are my glasses?
To be fair, this is something I say often. Almost daily and they always turn up – in an obvious place and yet managing to hide in plain sight. Or else they are under something that someone else has placed on them is to blame for.
Only this time they did not turn up…
I look in the obvious places and nothing and soon I am flying around the house. Please, not now. Not when we have a flight to catch. Where the F are they?
The hunt/search becomes so frantic that even Paddy joins the task force. By now our taxi arrives (bang on 10am) – but still with no glasses, I am stricken with anxiety, pointlessly checking drawers where they could not possibly be. I even check the bin, on the off chance that I have thrown them away.
Terror and frustration overwhelm me. The taxi driver is now dawdling at our front door. He could help us look, but I don’t suggest this.
Scotland might be beautiful but not if I can’t see it. Why do such things happen to me? I’m cursed. Maybe I just won’t go. I’ll have to stay home with Tess.
Nikki has found an old pair of glasses of mine. Out of prescription and definitely out of fashion. In fact, for this reason, I have never ever worn them. They are the extra ‘free’ pair from Spec Savers that are ordered on a whim and without much thought.
“For your free pair, would you like an orange tint?”
A glasses shade for the rich, famous and/or cool.
“Sure, why not?”
Some people, but not many, can carry off such tinted glasses…
I would argue that Bono is not amongst them. Cool enough I suppose, but badly undone by his preaching and aversion to paying tax. Robert Downey Jnr, however, does qualify. The orange specs suit him. They go well with his natural swagger and it helps also that his most famous on-screen character sports them also.
But we can all agree that yours truly – the balding and fattening Dominic Holland cannot carry them off. And yet this is the prospect for me as we finally call off the search because we need to get to the airport. Nikki now realises the gravity of my situation and has stopped muttering that she’s married to a moron. I sit in the taxi clutching my Tony Stark glasses. I am ashen. A man defeated.
I have been to Scotland many times and with the intention of making people laugh but not by looking like an over-reaching idiot trying to appear hip.
The journey to Heathrow is not a happy one. I sit in brooding silence, clutching at straws like, at least the oven is off. Finally we arrive at Heathrow and we split up. Not for good like a divorce, although the thought might have occurred to Nikki. A temporary split I mean, as I go off with my bro-in-law for a coffee and Nikki and my sister go for a mooch.
Or do they?
While I am draining coffee and searching for answers to my life, Nikki is being entirely more productive.
She phones Tom and suggests that he might go to ours and have a look for my glasses. He does so and he finds them instantly. On the dining table which he made with his grandad. And where? Under our fruit bowl. (The actual bowl and not my novel.) It has a large flange you see and someone must have moved it. Not me, btw. So who moved the bloody fruit bowl?
But we are now airside at Heathrow and even if Tom can get to the airport in time, is there a way of getting the glasses through security, no doubt made more difficult by Covid, not to mention the people who dream of blowing planes out of the sky.
Nikki finds a security guard and asks the question. Immediately, he sucks in his breath, like a mechanic does when encountering a lady with a stricken car. It’s not straight forward. He looks at his watch. It’s going to be a problem. Definitely not straightforward. Nikki wonders if she might play the S-M card. That the person delivering these glasses might be someone he’d quite like to meet. But this is never very edifying and she decides not to. He might be DC? The security guard is still shaking his head…
“…he’ll need to come to the car park 5 – level 4…”
In true super-hero fashion, Tom rises to the challenge. He takes to his super-fast car and arrives at Heathrow in time (within the law btw) whilst being directed by his frantic mum on the phone (within the law btw)…
“Car Park 4, level 3, go to the back of the car park where a man will be waiting…”
Our flight has been called already. I am ambling towards the gate in a daze. I can’t see anything because my Stark glasses are in my pocket and will only be worn in absolute emergencies.
Meanwhile, my hero, Nikki is waiting for her hero, Tom. It all hinges on this security guard coming through for us.
Suddenly, he reappears. He has a smile on his face and my glasses in his hand. Tom has saved the day.
‘Are you Spider-Man’s mum?’ He gushes.
“You should have said.”