Saving the day

122486705I’ve been intrigued by an internet list of 50 things we no longer have or do because of technology. They include the predictable ones we’d all expect – like using public telephone boxes, making compilation tapes or making sure you have enough change in the car for the parking meter. But one thing they don’t dwell on is the reduced importance of bits of paper. At the risk of sounding like Victor Meldrew, can you remember when bits of paper were important? Plane tickets, letters from work and exam results were all treated with utter reverence and care because they were unique, irreplaceable precious items that you mislaid at your peril.

I was reminded of this last night when I rushed out of the house to meet my friends to see To Kill A Mocking Bird in the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park. I’ve been there a million times, but only ever once a year, so as usual I got completely lost, wandering into five different groups of American students playing softball in the park before I stumbled on the theatre as if by chance, as I do every year. I was so busy congratulating myself on arriving at the right place way before curtain up when I realised there was something missing.

I was two minutes from the box office when it dawned on me that the computer-generated tickets my friend Upstairs Clare had printed out and tucked into my handbag three weeks ago were still safely tucked away in my handbag. Only trouble was, it wasn’t the bag I had swinging jauntily from my shoulder. The tickets were still inside my work bag, which was swinging from the kitchen door knob two miles and at least half an hour away. Excellent.

I stopped to phone Ruth, who was also on her way in her camper van and could, with a following wind, do a U-turn and swing by my house to pick them up, probably missing the first ten minutes in the process. The other alternative was to see whether I could hand Clare’s phone in at the box office and ask them to reprint them. The clock was ticking and my blood pressure was rising as I shared my woes with Upstairs Claire who was waiting slightly tetchily for me outside the theatre.

“Yeah, could do,” she said, as I practised my close-to-tears face ready to tackle the box office. “Or you could just use these,” she said reaching into her handbag and producing two crisply printed tickets.

“I took precautions,” she said, rustling them under my nose as she headed towards the unseasonably sunny Pimms bar, proving – yet again – that you can’t always rely on mod cons saving you from disaster. Two points to her, but my round I think.

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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