Observations, Experiences and Adventures in Rainwear with Kristine
Sunday, May 5, 2013
The Mystery of My Missing Rubber Mackintosh (a true story)
I purchased one of my all time favorite shiny black rubber mackintoshes (similar to mackintosh shown on the left) in the early eighties from a boutique in London’s Covent Garden. A truly perfect fit, my mackintosh looked absolutely fabulous, worn either tightly belted over a jacket and skirt, or worn casually over an old wool sweater and pair of jeans.
Traveling to my office in Central London by train every day, I soon learnt that on rainy days, both my mackintosh and I would attract a significant amount of attention from male passengers. Some would observe me from a safe distance while others made a point of standing or sitting as close to me as they possibly could inside the train carriage.
Occasionally, I would receive a compliment, typically from an older gentleman that I looked "charming," "marvelous" or even "ravishing" in my shiny black rubber mackintosh.
Arriving at my office in Hanover Square after a short ride on the London Underground, I would typically hang my mackintosh up in the office cloakroom located under the grand staircase at the front of the building.
As the head office of a major international company, the offices received a large number of visitors on a daily basis, many of whom where executives, lawyers, or dignitaries from the company’s various worldwide operations. Few however, used the office cloakroom.
One wet, miserable Tuesday night in late November, I walked into the cloakroom after a particularly grueling day only to find that my shiny black rubber mackintosh was missing? As I carefully worked my hands through the assortment of other coats and jackets hanging on the clothes rail a second, third and fourth time, my heart began to sink as it became apparent that someone had taken my cherished mackintosh.
Borrowing a colleagues’ umbrella, I traveled home that night on the train wondering who would have taken my mackintosh, which could not, under any circumstances have been mistaken for any other raincoat or jacket hanging up in the cloakroom that day.
The following morning, a light frost accompanied by a clear blue sky dictated that I wear my navy blue wool overcoat to work. As I sat on the train, unable to read my book, wondering who had taken my mackintosh, my thoughts were suddenly interrupted as the train came to a rapid and un-scheduled stop just outside Clapham Junction Station in South London.
Both my fellow passengers and I sat silently for about five minutes wondering our fate as our train stood motionless on the tracks. Finally, a distinguished looking gentleman in his early sixties dressed in a blue pinstripe suit looked up from behind his Daily Telegraph and announced:
"Typical British Rail" "A little bit of frost on the lines and the whole network grinds to a halt" A murmur of mutual agreement from my fellow passengers filled the carriage as the bright autumn sun shone through the windows.
Finally after approximately twenty minutes, our train began to move slowly towards its final destination of Waterloo Station.
As we slowly pulled into Waterloo, several of the passengers proceeded to carry out the daily ritual of opening the carriage door before the train had come to a complete stop. A dangerous habit presumably intended to achieve a head start on other passengers as they proceeded to swarm the British Rail ticket collector at the end of the platform. I for one never engaged in such activity, preferring to remain seated until most of the passengers had left the carriage.
With just myself and the distinguished gentleman in the pinstripe suit remaining, I stood up to leave.
"No sexy mac today?" he inquired with a smile.
I hesitated before replying. I had seen him on the train before but did not consider him to be one of my mackintosh admirers.
"Not today". I replied.
"That’s a pity, always makes my day when I see you dressed in that sexy black mac" he quipped. I wondered how many more fans did my mackintosh and I have.
Arriving at my office, I instinctively went over to the employee cloakroom to hang my overcoat up and look for my missing rubber mackintosh.
Opening the door, I detected the faint aroma of natural rubber which could only belong to my mac. Could it be? Yes, hanging awkwardly on a coat hanger was my cherished raincoat.
It did not take a detective to realize that someone had borrowed by mackintosh for the night and then hurriedly put it back in the cloakroom earlier that morning. But who?
Upon closer examination of my mackintosh, I found a small trace of ladies makeup on the collar along with a slight hint of perfume, both of which were most definitely not mine. Clearly another woman had worn my mackintosh recently.
As I continued my examination of my raincoat, I found no damage or marks on the black rubber surface or for that matter the tan cotton (wiggan) lining. Needless to say, I stopped wearing my rubber mackintosh to work.
Over the following weeks and months, this led me to believe, on reflection, that someone had simply borrowed my mackintosh in order to steal a night of dressing for pleasure and even possibly love making activities.
Just over one year later, I discovered the identity of the person who had borrowed my mackintosh for the night.
Our group accountant was a pleasant man in his mid-forties who liked to talk to anyone who would listen about his views and opinions on various subjects. Late one Friday afternoon, just before I was about to leave for the weekend and meet some friends, he walked into my office. I was wearing a leather pencil skirt and high heel shoes which appeared to catch his attention.
"How are things in your department?"; he inquired somewhat nervously.
"Fine" I replied as I proceeded to lock my desk drawer and filing cabinets.
"I have not seen you in that shiny black rubber number lately?" I pretended not to understand what he meant.
"Oh, I did so enjoy seeing you in it on wet rainy days" he continued.
"Do you mean my black rubber mackintosh?" I tersely replied.
"Yes," "Yes’ he responded eagerly.
"Someone borrowed it without my permission from the cloakroom downstairs last November." I said. "I no longer wear it to work for fear that it might be stolen again."
"Oh dear, that’s a shame " he replied in a somewhat nervous voice as he looked down at the floor sheepishly.
From his body language and tone, I instantly knew that he was the likely mackintosh thief. I bid him good night and left him standing in the office with the lights turned off.
As I travelled home later that night, I smiled to myself and thought, "maybe it's time for me to start wearing my shiny black rubber mackintosh to work again". After all, I now know the identity of the mac thief who almost certainly will now keep his "sticky fingers" to himself after our little Friday afternoon chat. Moreover, why deprive my fellow train passengers (and rubber mackintosh enthusiasts) of a little "macking" pleasure on the way to and from work. So I did.