Experts are baffled.

It has taken me a while, I admit.  In fact I’ve already only just got round to it.  I can’t think why I didn’t do it sooner.  Well, I can really.  Tiredness, that’s it.  Knackerdy knackerdy, yaaawn zzzzzzzzzz whaff?  Hmmm?

After a visit to my mother, which comes after two days of shopping for the wrong things and an early start, I am so tired.  Last week for the first time I had a bit of a lie in.  Having a bit of a lie in is a thing I no longer enjoy.  I stopped liking it when I turned fifty.  This is bizarre.  When I was twenty nine I could sleep at Olympic level and party all night.  With a baby, at thirty, I was up all night, sadly not partying but I retained the ability to sleep during the day with immense facility.  Then I got to fifty and bang!  Eight o’ clock I’m up, up for it, ready for brekkie and up up up!

Last week after the enchanting day at my mother’s I was so very knackered I got up and had a cup of tea and then had a better idea and went back to bed.  I am, however, out of practice at sleeping in.  When I arose again at eleven I discovered someone had stolen my brains while I was asleep and replaced them with cotton wool, not only could I not do thinking, I was dodgy on stuff like walking, fighting the amorous shower curtain, and not cleaning my ears with my toothbrush.  I was especially gifted in the area of contact lenses.

Now where did that go?  Is it on the basin?  No.  Has it gone down the plughole, maybe?  Can I feel it in my eye?  Possibly.  Am I stupid?  Definitely.  Should I go back to sleep?  Hmm.  Should I go back to sleep with a contact lens in my eye?  Dunno.  Will it slip round my eyeball into my brain?  Would that make the thinking worse or better? Should I ask someone?   Who?

I rang the optician.  No I should not sleep with a contact lens in my eye, I should go into the shop and they would get experts to reschedule the schedules and make time to poke around in my eyeballs.

So this sounds like fun then.

How to get there?  If I drive and the lens suddenly slips into view, all smeary, I could,  unknowingly, mount the pavement and plough through the pedestrians, finally ending up in the shop window.  It’s more possible than you think, a local lady did this at the top shops last week and got in the paper.  A gentleman shopper had to go to hospital, one minute he was wondering whether to buy the bargain bag of chocolates from the top of the display, or the value marshmallows off the shelf and suddenly he got a free car bonnet.  He was all right eventually but probably shopping only in very indoor upstairs malls now.

Similarly with a bus.  I could, unseeing, dismount anywhere, causing search parties for a week while I’m wandering round another town completely, squinting at everything and wondering why they changed the town hall without telling me. 

Three phone calls to the golf club and two hours later finally produced the other half and pointed up a slight deficiency in the arrangements for contacting him in a hurry if my mother is ill.

By this time, as I had whiled away the last two hours poking around my eyeball, as you do, I looked like the victim of a street attack at least.

Driven to the optician in a rush (one look, we were off!) I then sat for an hour and a quarter while they fitted me in.  They did and a minion had a little poke with assorted machines and a blob of yellow dye.  No luck.  She was so baffled she grabbed my regular optician, who knows my eyes like the back of her hand.  My regular optician was also baffled.

And there’s the rub.  Why does it take an expert to be baffled?  It always is, you know.  read your papers, it’s always experts that are baffled.  Never members of the public. Hardly ever continuity announcers.  Rarely dustbin men.  Politicians never ever, see this wet, see this dry, spit in your eye and hope to die, absolutely not.  Bafflement is beyond their purleiu, they have not only certainty but researchers at their backs.  Their backs are got, gotten, held solid as a rock, they know what they know with absolute conviction, it is their stock in trade.

Experts, however, are so often baffled it must be in the exam.

Hello, come in, sit down, would you prefer the chair or the stool?

I don’t know.  I’m baffled.

That is correct.  Please remain standing.  Are you baffled, once a week, twice a week, every day, or hourly?


(Personally, if I may interject, I am currently baffled once a week for an hour.  It’s a futuristic drama on TV which seems likely to run for seven or eight series with no one any the wiser at all.)

Good answer, excellent level of perplexity.  Have you any idea what you would like to be expert in?

Oooh, oh dear, I thought you would just tell me, now I’m really baffled.

Very promising. If you could take this certificate to the next room they will measure your levels of expertise.

Oh, this is surprising, I don’t know what to think.  Frankly I’m baffled.  (Walks into wall)

Yes, OK, you’ve passed, there’s no need to milk it.


So no one could find the lens in my eye, we all looked, including me.  I was assured that lenses cannot slip round your eye into your head, though it still remains a good pub quiz question and a thing to horrify your friends with in an idle moment.  I ordered three replacements, in case this happens again and, if I am called to assess my mother’s level of alertness, all my lenses are jammed under my eyelids and I cannot tell if she is alive or dead.

I went home, night fell,  I slept, I got up the routine six bathroom times. Day broke, the other half inhabited the bathroom for two hours as usual (what does he do?  Experts are baffled.) He left for golf.  I got up I got showered, I went into the bedroom and turned up my foot to put a sock on it and for lo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes indeed, the lost lens upon my foot, whole, intact and utterly undamaged.  I retrieved it and stuck it in my eye where it is now, working perfectly.  How on earth did that happen and what are the chances, given the number of feet in hard shoes in and out of the bathroom since the previous morning?

I personally, myself, have no idea and when I rang the optician to cancel one of the lenses, the experts, or at least the girl on the phone and the other one she told, needless to say, were baffled.

So this week I slept in right until eleven thirty and I was fine.  How can half an hour make all the difference?

I do not know and experts, frankly, are baffled.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ – now I see you, now it’s on the floor.

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