The trick to the successful loss of a new wallet containing a newly drawn substantial sum of money; a Spanish identity document; a credit card; driving licence; social security number; season ticket to the opera; membership cards of various organizations including MNAC, the RACC and the local leisure centre; a medical card – not to mention a 70% completed Ruta de Tapas entry form – is to ensure that you loose it in a place crawling with people.
Yesterday the meal overlooking the sea was even more drawn out than usual with excellent food (though I would not liked to have had an encounter with the living turkey whose chunky flesh I was eating suggested a bird with the stature of something approaching an ostrich than a normal fowl) and a glass of Cava given to us by our favourite waiter.
This was later augmented by a bottle of Cava brought by a sniggering waiter who told us that he had been instructed by the boss to give a bottle to “the table of Germans” – which doesn’t say very much for our enunciation of English.
As I did not have my wallet on me I had to (had to!) let the others, well Emma, pay for the meal.
It was only later that evening when we were going out to eat (!) that I noticed the loss of the wallet was a real loss and not merely forgotten.
All the usual places were searched in vain. Ruthless cross-examination by Toni and Emma elicited the information that the last time I had used the wallet was in a restaurant the previous evening when we had a disastrous meal served by a shuffling imbecile who, like the description of Gerald Ford by President Johnson would have had a job “farting and chewing gum at the same time.” My “pasta” salad had to be seen to be believed: a thinly covered plate of pallid pasta with a quartered hard boiled egg and a few cherry tomatoes which had been split open. I shall draw a discrete veil over Emma’s “Tropical” salad because some things cannot be adequately described in words, thank god!
Paying for this insult to cuisine was the last time I remembered using my wallet so we returned to the scene of the crime and Toni peremptorily demanded the return of the wallet we had left there as we had decided that the assumption of its presence would intimidate the finders to return it.
The flustered denials of the epsilon semi-moron; his mute appeal to Emma and his explanation that his parents owned the restaurant was enough circumstantial evidence of guilt to convince us that he was hiding the truth.
We left with accusation ringing in every footfall and after a further even more futile search of the house we then traipsed our way to the police to report the loss.
Given the complex structure of law enforcement agencies in Spain the first police station we went was to the wrong sort of police, so we had to go to the other side of town to the right sort of police.
Here a child in uniform with a gun spent half an hour having animated discussions with Toni in Catalan and then typing up the information which he then photocopied and stamped and gave me three sheets of paper with the sort of finality which indicated that the police had now done as much as they were going to do.
Walking away from the police station in no peaceable state of mind (my jokiness was roundly condemned as thoroughly inappropriate by my companions who felt that I was not depressed enough at the catastrophic loss) condemning the café owner, the café waiter, the police and humanity (which was obviously anything but humane) we decided upon another course of action.
The guilt of the café was taken as read so, on Toni’s suggestion we decided to check the bins in the immediate vicinity thinking that Toni’s accusations will have panicked them into getting rid of the evidence.
So, parking nearby and as a fun activity to make the last night of her stay as memorable as possible, we poked about in the malodourous bins with me ostentatiously flashing my key-ring torch which probably made us look like affluent and well-organized tramps.
Failure made the journey back home a little sombre and my assertion that, “Well, no one has been injured or suffered death!” was seen as tactless and unnecessarily unconcerned.
When we arrived back the Scumbags were at large and conversation outside their house and their talking made the ringing of the telephone almost inaudible, but the bat-like ears of Toni caught the sound and he rushed upstairs soon to descend breathing the word “Police!” – at which point the Scumbags made themselves scarce and silent!
My wallet was in the first police station we had called into and had apparently been handed in that afternoon.
Back in the car and speeding on our way with what I thought were slightly envious expressions of wonderment at my luck we speculated about how much, if any, of the money would still be inside. We decided (as you do) that the cards and documents would be gift enough as long as they were all there.
Our arrival at the police station brought out an English speaking policeperson who handed me the wallet without any further ado. A colleague of hers advised me to count the money – all of which was there!
It turned out that the wallet must have been left or dropped in our favourite restaurant next to the sea and that the waiter who had brought us the Cava had taken the wallet to the police. Sometimes one’s faith in one’s fellow creatures is restored – though I am sure that it will be knocked down soon as I am now within hours of the start of the new term and the chaos that entails is sure to test my new-found belief!
It was a slightly more sprightly trio who yet again returned to the house where I was given two individual lectures about using a smaller wallet in future; dividing documents; holding less money and generally being more careful.
But with my luck who needs care!