I have oyster-card neurosis. For those of you non-Londoners who may jump to the logical conclusion that I have problems related to a card that acquires points when you purchase shelled sea-food, your conclusion is incorrect. The Oyster Card is a nifty piece of plastic that allows you to travel around the capital and its outskirts at a lower rate and with the clever pro that you can simply top it up pay-as-you-go or buy season tickets. I have a student one, gets me a third off season tickets. Happy days. But back to my problem. A problem shared is a problem halved.
I always think I will lose it, like it has a mind of its own and will surreptiously creep away from me as I glance over the Evening Standard, so I take many measures to make sure it can never be lost. I am so very, very paranoid about it that sometimes, I hold the card tightly in my hand, glancing down at it every few minutes just to check it hasn’t morphed into my student ID or another card of some variety. If it is in my pockets I frantically re-assess its whereabouts from time to time along my journey, and when finally get my fingers round it, mind and body in nervous turmoil, all my fears disappear and the world is bright and okay again. I feel a pang of sheer distilled fear when I am nearing my stop on the tube, if the card is not in the first place I look I assume I could have lost it and start a near cavity search. And so sometimes I keep it in my glove (which I like, because when going through barriers or getting on a bus, it makes me feel like I have the Force), that way my hand can always feel the hard, reassuring smoothness of the plastic and I don’t have to have a heart attack every time I move.
So some soul answer this. Why have I, of all people, lost it for the third time this year? Why, as the heavy weight of realization quickly settled in my stomach and the rain smiled as it ruined my suede shoes did it not just appear after my rigorous system of checking my person, so I could be free of the awful sick feeling that had arrived. Why me? After my nerves are already tied in all kinds of knots, why does the world have to hit me hard of the nose with the one thing I spend hours trying to prevent?
Sods Law, Sods Law.
I’ll get over it. I guess I have to be more careful…