I seem to have lost my watch. Lost, stolen. It is – was – a very good Seiko diving watch – 23 years old, scratched and chipped, but robust and reliable. It was a gift from a long dead great aunt, who bought it for me when I was 15. It has been repaired twice, lovingly, lost and found, accompanied me all over the world. Of late, though I have developed an itchy rash on my wrist, so I have taken to keeping it in my pocket. And I know I had it this morning, as we watched the kids do a jiggly dance for us right after breakfast. Then I spent several hours trying to repair our crazy hot water system. In a miracle of science, water flows Escher-like, both ways in the one pipe at the same time, and hot water turns to cold in the space of two metres. In vain I emptied the tank, filled the bathroom with sprays of water, took things off and put them on again and rapidly reached the unhappy point of utter frustration and perplexment. I even phoned home to ask my Dad for advice.
Some time around 11.00 I went to the bazaar to buy parts – valves, thread tape, T-pieces. It only took half an hour, and I paused to buy mangoes, which are plentiful and excellent at this time. Several Kuchi women stopped to beg from me. The Kuchis are Pashtun nomads and they orbit between the cities, the highland and lowland pastures. While in the cities, the women are quite aggressive at begging, and rarely accept no for an answer. I gave a few Afs to the young girl with them, and I don’t think they picked my pocket – but I guess they may have. It was later during lunch that I realised the watch was missing from my pocket.
I have now spent several hours searching the house, doing that foolish thing you do when something is lost, when you look in ridiculous places that you know there is zero chance it being. So it was that I looked down drains, in washing baskets, in boxes I haven’t opened in weeks, in the fridge, in bins, in jackets I haven’t worn yet, behind huge immovable wardrobes. Stupid, pointless. I went back down the bazaar and of course there was nothing. Came home. Felt irritable and sad. Looked in empty cupboards, twice, then again with a torch. Patted my pockets for the hundredth time. Squeezed my fingers down the back of our comfy chairs, when it was obvious that the only way a large diving watch could get down there was if forced with a hydraulic press. Looked in the toilet. And again. I even got Julie to pray we would find it. But no joy yet. And the evil water heater isn’t fixed either.