Coming out on to the street, the heat hit me. A day of brainstorming had taken its toll. No matter how good the air conditioning and how sweet the cake, there is nothing like a good blast of hot air after a long day of trying not to disgrace yourself, to make you feel the strain.
Far fetched as it sounds, in thirty degrees of heat, I needed to be in Upper Street before 6.30, to beat the deadline for the winter jumper I had reserved.
#Bank Station had come to a standstill and as people piled in behind me, the temperature began to rise in more ways than one. I still had time to make it, but after a torturous wait, I gave up and shuffled my way through the crowds and back into the relative cool of a scorching evening. That jumper would wait for no woman. I needed a taxi. This was a job for the cane.
This was no ordinary jumper. It was just the right shade of green and it’s the quest for colour that lead me to spend the next twenty minutes, standing on the side of the road, cane in one hand, the other arm out to signal my need for a Taxi.
As taxi procuring goes, mine is a fairly rubbish technique. It’s consistently let me down over nearly forty years. It used to be that I’d see a taxi, any taxi, and stick my hand out. These days, I stand with my arm out and hope the taxi sees me. Whether they did or whether they didn’t, or whether they were stuffed with people on the quest to secure the green jumper before 6.30, I shall never know, but my nerves were starting to jangle. Hard to keep your cool in thirty degrees of heat when you feel the jumper of your desires slipping from your grasp.
“Can I help you?” asked a nice woman, then qualified her offer with, “I’m not sure there are any taxis.” I pressed on alone.
Just as I was about to give up Prince Charming was at my elbow. “That is a rubbish technique you’ve got.”
“I know. I’m on a deadline. I think I’ll give up and go home,” I said.
“Don’t do that. I’m going to get you a taxi. Stay there. I’ll be back with a taxi, and I always do what I say I will do.”
“I always do what I say I will do,” is the mantra of just about every man I know. It’s how you know that you won’t see them for dust. Then, just like that, he was gone. Ah well. It wasn’t meant to be.
As I took my first steps to leave, he was back. “I’ve got you a taxi. Hold my hand,” he commanded. At this point I might normally say, “I’ll just follow on,” but I willingly obeyed as we hot footed it across the road. “Take this woman to Upper Street. She’s against the clock.” We did it with five minutes to spare.
Five minutes before closing time is never the optimum moment to present yourself for a fitting. I can’t say I won any favours. The jumper didn’t fit. They locked up and went on a hunt for one that did and hadn’t been reserved. There was one left.
I wonder if Cinderella felt like this? Possibly she did. Whatever the thrill of the chase, and I include Prince Charming in this, I wonder how much I really needed that jumper, now languishing in its wrapping. It will be a lovely surprise when I open it and think how beautiful the colour and fall in love again.