So I finally got round to getting a proper wedding ring. I was hoping the perfect ring would come to me in a dream, delivered on a velvet cloud. But in the end it involved getting off my arse and going to the shops on a crowded Saturday afternoon, ensuring maximum flusteredness. I chose a simple white gold band just to get it over with.
The sales assistant with the pimples and gelled spikes seemed disappointed at the swiftness of my purchase. He had to act fast. “Did you know for only £6.99 I can give you Ring Protection Insurance? You’ll be covered for theft or damage for two years!”
“Ummm. Ummm.” As soon as someone tries to sell me anything, my face burns red and I lose the ability to form sentences.
“We’ll replace the ring right away with one exactly the same, or one of equal value! It’s a great deal!”
“Ummm!” Panic closed in. Ring Protection Insurance? What the hell did I want with Ring Protection Insurance for such a boring, inexpensive loop of metal? What kind of moron did he take me for?
I looked at the floor, I looked at Gareth; I riffled through my handbag as if my brain lurked there beside the scrunched up tissues and Breathmints of Yesteryear. “What do you think, Gareth?”
“Well I dunno,” he replied helpfully.
“Only £6.99 and we’ll renew the policy once the two years up if you’re still married.”
My brain finally piped up. You don’t need bloody Ring Protection Insurance. We have contents insurance! And it’s a plain wedding band, not the freaking Crown Jewels! But the words spewed forth regardless. “Okay! Okay! I’ll take it!”
“Excellent choice, ma’am.”
Back out on the street, I clenched my Ring Protection Insurance Policy in one fist and waved the other wildly in the air. I was spluttering with indignant, white-hot rage; the most infuriating kind because you know it’s your own stupid fault and you can’t pin it on anyone else.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t try.
“WHAT the hell happened in there?”
“Yeah, how come you got that Insurance? We have contents insurance.”
“And it’s just a plain wedding ring. And how will anyone steal it when you never take it off?”
“I KNOW! I KNOW!”
“I bet he literally shat his pants on the spot,” Gareth grinned, “From sheer shock that someone actually took that policy.”
“He will be Employee of the Month for sure.”
“This is all YOUR fault!” I squeaked. “You were supposed to stop me! You were meant to speak up! You know I am rubbish in these situations. As soon as someone puts on the hard sell I crumble like a block of feta. CRUMBLE!”
“But I didn’t think anyone could actually say yes to a Ring Protection Policy.”
“You have FAILED!” I cried as I stomped down the street, “You have FAILED the first test of our marriage!”
Later I poured over the wretched document and realised the policy had a 20-day cooling off period. But it meant I’d have to go back to the shop and say, “Hello, I am a buffoon. Gimme back my seven quid.” I calculated that I had wasted almost $25 Australian on this escapade. Whenever I do something stupid with money I always convert it back to Australian dollars, so I can intensify the humiliation and prolong the pointless rage.
This sort of thing happens to me all the time – me handing over money to strangers on autopilot, not fully comprehending until I look down at an empty purse and scream, “SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!”. Just last weekend a dreadlocked woman approached me and told me she was a nun, and did I want to buy a CD of some crazy music? Only £7. I immediately opened my purse and told her I only had £2. She said that was more than enough to buy one of her books. So now I am the proud owner of some Hare Krishna meditation tome with no English text whatsoever.
And a few months before that I was walking home, huddled beneath my headphones. A surly teenage chick with a sidekick boyfriend stopped me and started babbling. I turned down the volume and finally heard, “We’ve got no money for the bus, can you loan us a couple quid?”. Ten seconds later I’d handed over all my change and apologised for being so rude with my headphones and all. She looked at coins in her hand, blinking in disbelief.
“Cold today, innit?” said the sidekick boyfriend.
And then they disappeared into the shop next door. Even with my headphones back on I could still hear their laughter. The bus hurtled by, spraying a mucky puddle over my shoes.
“So what does this policy cover you for?” Gareth asked.
“Umm. Theft. And stuff. IF it’s in our house.”
“Well. For just £6.99 you have bought piece of mind. If there’s a freak flood or stealthy burglar, or if a magpie flies in the window in the middle of the night and bites your finger off, we’re totally covered.”