The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - September 12, 2013

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The downside of working Monday till Friday, nine to five, is it means you have to spend your weekend doing something with your loved one.

In my case it meant a Saturday shopping trip to Tesco.

I have the kind of partner who gets upset if we don’t spend time together. I’ve never understood this. My ideal day is to spend it on my own. A woman’s ideal day is to spend it with someone else. Forget bits of our anatomy, this, I believe, is the fundamental difference between the male and female species.

“You never hug me or show affection,” Mrs Canavan often says. “I do,” I argue back. “We held hands on holiday in Devon in 2003” (which is true, though only because I’d been drinking and forgot myself).

I once got told off for not getting out of bed and showing concern when my partner, after an evening of drinking rather heavily, bolted from the bed in the early hours of the morning and ran to the bathroom to be sick (from the sound of it several times; it took an age to unblock the loo the next morning).

“Why didn’t you check I was all right and stroke my hair?” she later asked.

Now I like to think I’m a caring individual (when an elderly neighbour unsteady on her feet needed a lift to the local shop for milk and bread, I stopped my car, wound down the window – though not too far because it was raining violently and I didn’t want to get my leather upholstery damp – and told her there was a short cut through the ginnel which would knock at least three minutes off her journey).

But I draw the line at watching someone, no matter how well I know them

Anyway, back to the weekend shopping trip. “You promised to decorate the back bedroom two years ago and it’s still not done, so you’re coming to Tesco whether you like it or not,” Mrs Canavan shouted.

Which is actually a nonsensical argument but it wasn’t the time to point it out, so I meekly went along with her.

What a depressing experience. At dinner-time on Saturday, as we approached the store (which is the size of a small country, so big there’s passport control at the door), there was a traffic jam just to get in the car park.

Once inside the store, we had to navigate aisles more gridlocked than the M25 in rush-hour.

It took more than an hour to complete the shop, not helped by Mrs Canavan’s addiction to special deals.

Standard exchange: “Pickled onions are on offer”. Me: “But neither of us eat pickled onions”. Her: “It’s two jars for £1.50 – we’ll get them for a rainy day”.

Then the piece de resistance. As the young lad on the checkout – so young he had to ask a colleague called 
Geoff to swipe the bottle of wine we’d bought – handed us our receipt, he cheerily remarked ‘you’ve saved £11.80 by shopping at Tesco today’. Saved?

Our bill had come to £121. We’d had to re-mortgage the house to pay for it.

Next Saturday I’m feigning illness.