I was out in Newcastle with a modelling agency last week. On their Christmas night out.
Not because I am a model you understand, because I worked alongside their excellent founder for a couple of years to help shape the brand.
Drinks were £7 to £10 each I guess as we bounced around the cool bars.
I was buying for me. And friends. And people I didn’t know.
You know how it is. It’s Christmas.
People bought for me too of course. It was a good night.
I had no idea how much I’d spent on the night in these times where waving your phone at a barista or cocktail maker results in a balance-reducing beep in under a second.
The following day I could estimate. But I wasn’t sure exactly as I did have cash on me a well.
But hey, it’s Christmas.
How strange it is then that, at ASDA on the following afternoon, I guarded my trolley (MY trolley) with my life.
Because it had my £1 coin in it.
I’d put my bags in the car and the trolley was about 20 yards away (I’d had to carry bags a little distance for some reason).
But I watched MY trolley with a steely gaze. Constantly.
MY £1 coin.
I think that if someone had walked towards it I’d have skipped across, puffed my chest out, lowered my voice and said,
‘Ere mate. That’s my trolley.
And I don’t ever call anyone ‘mate’.
But this was serious.
This was MY trolley.
I thought about this afterwards. And smiled.
It’s amazing how our behaviours and reactions are so miss-matched to situations sometimes.
I bought a £5 tin of instant coffee yesterday, impressed that it makes 52 cups. A graphic on the packaging told me this.
And I still paid £2.50 for a flat white on the way home.
But this is not about money or numbers. It’s about control.
MY supermarket trolley, containing MY £1 coin was MY supermarket trolley.
And the social rules around the exact moment it becomes mine or his or hers are unclear. So it made me feel edgy.
When I bought a £7 cocktail the rules were clear. It’s mine.
I think I’ll relax more.
I don’t always have to control everything.
Have my trolley. And I’ll buy you a coffee when I see you. A 10p instant one or a £2.50 flat white.
It is Christmas after all.