When I was five and my family used to live in the tiny half-dilapidated apartment, all the basic shops were within walking distance. In fact, we could see most of the shops from our window – the grocery shop, the tofu shop, the meat shop, the fish shop, the fruit shop, really everything.
Thanks to this close proximity, my mother had little concern leaving us little children at home while she did a quick shopping in the evening. Before leaving, she would often say to me and my little brother
“Sweeties, I’m now going out for shopping. But I’ll be back very soon!”
My mother had a forgetful tendency, and she would often forget certain things at home. On those occasions when we did accompany her for shopping, we often heard her say
“Oh, shoot! I forgot it at home!”
But it was very rare that she went back home to fetch it since she also had the tendency not to worry about details. She would say
“Oh, well, never mind!”
and continue her shopping without the thing she had forgot at home.
At the time, my little brother was two, and he was into mimicking what adults did around him. One of his favourite activities was to mimic my mother’s shopping. Every now and then, he would ask my mother for a plastic bag and a spare yellow wallet and go out on an imaginary shopping. But he always made sure to leave the yellow wallet at home. Once he was ready, with the empty plastic bag in his hand, he would tell us
“I’m now going out for shopping. Oh, but don’t worry, I’ll be back very soon!”
And he closed the imaginary door and went off to his imaginary shop. Before long, he stopped and shouted
“Oh, shoot! I forgot my wallet!”
As my mother and I watched what would happen next, my brother beamed and said
“Oh, well! Never mind!”
and carried on with his shopping without his wallet.
Even as a young child, I always found it funny that my brother chose a wallet as the item to forget at home – it was one thing that my mother always did mind whenever she left at home. In any case, my little brother’s performance was always enjoyed by his audience. Especially my mother was a great fan of this shopping performance.