It was in The Lab at just after 11am on Saturday morning, where I’d met George and Karen moments before, that I sat totally crestfallen and unable to fathom how I’d been so careless. The day I’d been so looking forward to was ruined and I had nobody but myself to blame.
A few nights before, my Auntie Denny had called and offered me two season tickets to go and see Rangers’ final home game of the season, as my Uncle James would be away for the weekend with her and wasn’t using them. Delighted, I leapt at the opportunity. I hadn’t been to Ibrox in a very long time and I knew from experience that the atmosphere is fantastic for the last home game.
Having watched a few of Rangers’ recent escapades with George, he was the natural choice to accompany me on the day, and he seemed well pleased when I offered him the other ticket. The scene was set for a superb day. The weather was lovely, I had my camera and I had my PSP and its camera attachment for recording sweeping panoramas of Ibrox, and I had checked the season tickets were in my pocket as I left the house.
What I didn’t have was the good sense to pat my pockets down as I got off the train at the other end of the journey. I had been so eager to get down to The Lab that I threw my jacket on as the train pulled into Queen Street and made for the door with just a swift glance back at the seat. However, somewhere between when I got on the train and when I jumped off, the season tickets had fallen from the left chest pocket of my jacket.
I never do stuff like that. I have built in procedures bordering on OCD, aspergers, and downright eccentricity. I have a designated wallet pocket, a change pocket, a travel card pocket, a lip balm pocket, and auxiliary pockets that can be assigned to contain any other accessory that I might need with me of a day. The system works, and has done for as long as I can remember.
So, when I realised the tickets were missing I was completely shocked and furious with myself for allowing it to happen. Right away I knew for sure that they were lost and, Despite George & Karen’s well intentioned suggestions, I knew there was no point in checking my other pockets, because I know exactly what’s meant to be in each of my pockets.
Like a fool, I’d ruttin lost the gorram tickets. The one thing I’d been told not to do. “Don’t lose the tickets, whatever you do.” I’d been reminded as my mum handed them to me the night before. Yeah. As if.
Slumped on a seat in the beer garden I sat, mouth agape, in silence. My mind a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives. Actually, that latter bit was George (as well as Headley Lamarr) – he immediately got on his Crackberry to see if he could conjure up some tickets from somebody, then set about finding the numbers for Lost Property at Queen Street.
As he did so I sat breathing deeply in full-blown self-flagellation mode. I knew how it was going to go down; Regardless of whether I called Lost Property or not, the tickets were gone and they weren’t coming back. The aforementioned afternoon of joy at Ibrox would be reduced to watching a screen. Worse, I’d let my friend down on the day before he went off to Canada for over a month. Worse still, I’d let Uncle James down.
A couple of trips to Queen Street later, where a very helpful man tried and failed to track down the tickets for me, and I called my Uncle James to confess. He seemed a bit put out, but was surprisingly good about it, considering. As soon as I was off the phone I had to just stop in the street to catch my breath. My emotions were all over the place – frustration, anger, humiliation, despair. If I’d been playing emotion bingo I’d have cleaned up, I tell you.
After calming myself down I made my way to The Auctioneers, a very nice Rangers centric pub, to join George to watch the game. My heart was so not in it, but in the state I was in I couldn’t really have picked a better person to spend the afternoon with. George is a positive thinker – always has been – and he really put me at ease over the situation by helping me laugh it off. Uncle James also sent me a text about twenty minutes after I’d called him, telling me not to worry about it and to enjoy watching the game.
A few pints of Deuchars and a good result for Rangers later and I was inclined to agree with the pair of them.
Strangely, our exuberant celebration of Rangers’ third goal knocked over the exceptionally heavy stool that I was perched on in The Auctioneers. As it hit the deck it landed on my jacket (which had been on the back of it), somehow missing my phone and PSP in their designated pockets, but destroying the zip good and proper. Thus the jacket that let the tickets get away is now useless – a martyr to the cause of pocket security.
In the end I had a good afternoon and, although I was pretty upset, it wasn’t the end of the world. I’ll have to get to Ibrox for sure next season, and maybe some day Uncle James will trust me with his tickets again.