Column: August 31, 2011

IT WAS all Eno’s fault. If she hadn’t told me it would rain, I wouldn’t have had to sit there in pain listening to people whispering, “Don’t his eyes look small without the refracting effect of his glasses?”

I probably need to explain. Eno Eruotor is the usual weather presenter on BBC Northwest Tonight, renowned for her bright clothing, and the way she totters forward on her improbably high heels and steadies herself on the newsreader’s desk at the end of the bulletin. I am probably a little bit obsessed by Eno, but not in a weird or arrestable way.

And when she told the people of the North West in no uncertain terms that it was going to be tipping it down the next morning, I paid attention. What did she have to gain by lying, after all? I went to bed prepared for a soaking the next day, safe in the knowledge that I’d got my mac ready…

I overslept, because I had incorporated the sound of the alarm into my dream and convinced myself that I was up and about. I had done half a morning in work – which I will never get back – before I woke in a panic, and had roughly five minutes to get washed, dressed, breakfasted and to the bus stop.

I tore out of the front door and was halfway up the street when I was gripped by the sense I had forgotten something. “Glasses!” I thought. I wasn’t wearing them. I patted my pocket. There they were. “No! Raincoat!”

I ran back, grabbed my raincoat, and got to the bus stop, to see two buses coming. I couldn’t see which was mine, and didn’t want to stop the wrong one, so I pulled my glasses out of my pocket. They were my sunglasses. And I was late.

“Are you wearing contact lenses, Gary?” somebody said to me as I walked into the office. I don’t know who it was. “Where are your glasses?” asked another person with a different voice.

“I have forgotten them,” I mumbled.

“How can you forget your glasses? You always wear your glasses,” the person helpfully reminded me.

“I just forgot them! It is all Eno’s fault!”

I settled myself at my desk. I could see my monitor if I squinted, so I got on with my work. As the morning progressed, I grew weary of having to explain my bare face to a succession of people who had felt it necessary to inform me I wasn’t wearing my glasses.

Eventually, I snapped when one colleague suggested that I get a Larry Grayson-style chain for my glasses. “How would that help me? I forgot to pick my glasses up! That would only help if I NEVER took them off. Do you think I sleep in my glasses? Do you think I shower wearing my glasses? Perhaps you think I have windscreen wipers on them?”

My colleague Emma Johnson, who writes on matters stylish for this newspaper and goes “to the clubs” asked me if my sunglasses were prescription. I said they were. “Why don’t you wear them?”

“Because I work indoors in Liverpool, and not outdoors in Los Angeles! I am not Lady Gaga.”

She shook her head and continued with her work. And the headache, which I had been expecting, came to visit, along with her daughters, Dizziness and Mild Nausea. I resigned myself to my rubbishy plight and spent the rest of the day softly moaning, apart from when I found I had bought the wrong sandwiches and the volume of my moaning increased.

And then, about half an hour before I was due to go home, I repeatedly banged my head on the desk. I walked over to the coat rack, slipped my hand into the pocket of my raincoat, and pulled out the glasses I had put in there the night before. I am so forgetful that I had forgotten that I had not forgotten my glasses.

I put them on. Nobody noticed, of course. They have come to expect this sort of behaviour from me, which is the cruellest lesson of all.

And Eno lied. Not one drop of rain all day.

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