Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Having faith in yourself could save you money.

Today was a crazy busy day. I'd really like to talk about it, but my last couple of days have been stressed. I imagine that people are rolling their eyes as they read this. "Not more stress," they say. "All I ever here is stress, stress, stress. It's like being in a pronunciation class."

So instead I'm going to recount what happened over the weekend when I wasn't in Rouen. 

On Thursday, having been reminded by Google, my brother, and an alert I set up last year, I went online and bought my mother a gigantic bouquet of flowers. Gigantic. The flowers were great value, but delivery was a bit of a hike because I wanted them delivered on Sunday.

This is called using demand inelasticity to your advantage.

In any case, I ordered the flowers. I sat back and felt contented in a job well done. I wrote a blog. I felt the sort of smug that always comes before a calamitous fall.

I had two days to wait for it.

On Saturday night, as I walked home from the station, my brother facebooked me. 

- You got mum a present?

Yea I had, I thought smugly. I got it on Thursday. Let me check my inbox for the confirmation email.


Checked my deleted items, panicking just a little.


Checked all other potential email inboxes and deleted items.


You know that cold sweat that comes over you when you can't quite believe the way reality is unfolding?

You know that fear that steals over you, starting at the base of your spine and scuttling up, its sharp claws digging into your skin?

You know how your tongue, normally a fount of liquid words, dries into a sponge and attempts to jump down your throat?

Check, check, and check.

I rushed home, fear now stealing through my hair and giving me cause to scratch frantically. I muttered iterations of curse words in French and English. I made some new ones up when I ran out. I got home. I threw clothes off myself and threw myself into my chair. A screw came loose. The seat fell off. 

Smug, meet fall.

I scrambled back up and logged into the flower shop's website. The site looked familiar. Had I dreamed the transaction? The transaction!

I eagerly logged into my bank account. If I'd bought anything then the money would have left my account. I tapped the keys eagerly. There was light at the end of the tunnel.

No recent transactions.

The light resolved itself into an express train.

In even more of a panic, with sweaty palms slipping over the mouse, I bagged the last collection of tulips, tapped a frantic and deeply apologetic note and, ashamed and chastised, clicked the button for it to be delivered on Monday. 

That night I lay awake frantically worrying. I'd forgotten Mother's Day. I was in another country. Perhaps I could get a train home. Would my presence be enough to abate the storm? 

I sweated all night.

I wore a hole in the bedsheets with my tossing and turning.

At one point I considered concocting a story about a rare but debilitating disease in order to have a valid excuse for why I'd not got anything. I was three pages into the grosser parts of Wikipedia before I realised I'd probably have mentioned African sleeping sickness in my daily blog.

I got up late. I called my mother immediately to offer a groveling apology. 

"Thank you for the lovely flowers!"

I blinked. Still asleep, clearly.

"The man just delivered them, they're lovely!" My mother has a way of drawing out the syllables in lovely. She rolls the word around in her mouth, as though just the word is a pleasure to say. She's said it that way since I can remember. She said it that way when I presented her with what can only be described as a blob of pink with a pencil mouth and my teacher's neat script explaining "Mum."

The way my mother says "lovely" cannot be replicated.

I was not dreaming. This solved the problem of flowers on Mother's Day wonderfully.

I froze.

It also raised the problem of extra flowers (not really a problem, my mother loves flowers) with a note that apologised for forgetting Mother's Day. Which apparently I had not done.

I hate looking stupid.

Being smug. Now with twice the karmic backlash.

These are the flowers, by the way, delivered by the extremely decent (and very funny on Twitter+Arena Flowers. If you need flowers, they're the guys. And gals.

Photo credit: my brother.
(I've just had to go on their Twitter page to get the link, and the last two post are "Cliff Richard appears dressed as an owl. But there is no crowd. He's at home. In his kitchen. Alone. Hooting 'Devil Woman'." and "Do turtles find tortoises attractive? You wonder..." Honestly, if you like your comedy smart and surreal follow them.)