We had just entered Morrisons in Cribbs Causeway. My mother was pushing the trolley, there to do her shopping for the week. Just past the PR mist squelching the vegetables I routinely checked in my cardigan pocket. No keys.
Only mildly alarmed, I checked my jeans: wallet still there, mobile phone in the other pocket and that's it. I now entered the unreal world of the totally-unexpected:
- denial ('this can't be happening') combined with
- aversion ('make this go away!').
My rational module took control.
- I addressed my mother thus: "I seem to have mislaid my keys. You carry on shopping and I'll try to find them,"
- I retraced my steps back to where we entered the store, looking carefully on the floor and under the racks,
- I worked on plan B: (call Clare in a minute, get her to drive the 25 miles from Wells bringing the other car key, take my mother & shopping back in a taxi).
Still no sign so I reported my loss to the store people (they also had a fruitless look) and then it occurred to me (far too late) to wonder whether I still even had a car. Back to the car park and there was no-one wandering around flicking a key fob and looking for flashing lights ... my car was still there. ('Should have immobilised it,' said Clare later).
Finally I returned to my mother, now halfway through her shopping. Without hope I looked in the trolley - nothing - then into her two rolled-up shopping bags.
There, in the bottom, my car keys.
So, I had helped my mother out of the car, then retrieved her shopping bags from the back seat, locked the car with the fob (I distinctly recalled this as it's something I mentally check afterwards) ... and then my memory is a blank. My reflex is to put the car keys in my pocket: it's what I do.
Why then would I have subconsciously put them in a shopping bag?
Clare teased, suggesting my mother 'dipped' me, 'planting' the keys for a laugh; my own thoughts turned briefly to quantum tunnelling, but there are just too many zeroes.
Everyone has been very quiet about the D-word.