Yes, I did leave the pub with a stranger’s spectacles. No, drink was not involved | Zoe Williams

I don’t even know why I took my glasses to the pub the other day; it wasn’t as if I’d have to read anything. A long time ago, the dog casually inspected a Greggs bag and found an entire sausage roll in there; ever since, he can spot the branding from a mile away, and we tear in front of traffic from one side of the A3 to the other, finding similar bags, which usually contain only crumbs. That’s me by a bar. I know exactly what I’m looking for – I don’t need literacy.

Nevertheless, I took my glasses, and the next day, couldn’t find them, and went back to check their lost property. They did have some glasses; it turns out they have a lot of pairs and this is true of all the pubs. Obviously, I couldn’t tell which were mine because I didn’t have my glasses. I could have put a pair on to check the others, but it felt kind of intrusive when I didn’t know the provenance, like breastfeeding someone else’s baby. M, the barmaid, was losing patience. Once she had to phone me to tell me she had my keys.

So I just grabbed a pair that looked familiar, went home, and now that I had some glasses, was able to find my original glasses, which I clearly hadn’t left in the pub after all. Score. Now I had two pairs of glasses, nothing like identical, except to a person not wearing their glasses. This is actually a really good circular economy, I figured: anyone needing any glasses need only go to a pub and ask to see their wares.

Having learned nothing, though, I went back a few days later, wearing the sequestered glasses, and it suddenly dawned on me that they must belong to someone, and there was no reason that someone wouldn’t also be back in the pub. I looked incredibly furtive for the rest of the evening, always looking over my shoulder for a squinting adversary.

Yes, this story has a moral: you don’t need your reading glasses in a pub. If by some perversity you want to read and drink, take some miniatures to a library.

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