Jason is a very precise man.
It is why he is so good at his job.
He likes everything to be just so. He hates mess and clutter and any form of chaos or disorder. He thinks in straight lines. He is a fan of the spread sheet and the ruler. He likes a neutral palette and a minimum of possessions.
It is still unclear why he married me.
And why he continues to put up with my entirely haphazard ways.
We are utterly unalike in almost every way you care to mention.
This includes shopping.
I like shopping, but I shop rather like a man. I do not like to spend hours in shops fussing over choices. I rarely try things on before I buy them because I hate changing rooms and faffing around so much. I never buy things because they will ‘go’ with something I already have. I buy on impulse – always.
It is why I am so bad at buying practical things, or things I am obliged to buy for any reason other than the fact that I want them.
Jason likes shopping, but he likes to shop thoroughly. He likes to go to a shop with a purpose already in mind (research will have been done), and look around and ask lots of questions. Then he likes to go to the next shop etc, then he invariably has a think before he goes back to the first shop and buys the original item he has seen. He will buy it, but will still find the time to ask several hundred more pertinent questions about its provenance and whether it is compatible with this, and what’s that small smudge there, and is there a warranty etc.
And can he have a discount.
He also keeps receipts.
I am not saying that these traits are a bad thing. Far from it. He generally gets an item that he is happy with and which affords him great satisfaction. He is rarely surprised by things, or disappointed.
And if he is, he always has the receipt so he can take it back.
It does, however, make him a tricky shopping companion if you are not this sort of a shopper yourself.
Today, for example, as we had failed abysmally at school uniform shopping, we spent the time getting his eyes tested and getting him some new glasses.
He embarked upon this project a few weekends ago, but there wasn’t enough time to see it through to his satisfaction, so we abandoned it, only to take it up again today.
We have been going to Vision Express in Leicester for ten years now. Ever since we started going there we have been being mostly helped by a man called Joe.
Joe is an absolute treasure.
He is still there (he’s been promoted), and still helping us.
Today, Joe was the only thing standing between me and despair (at times).
Shopping for glasses is not fun. I don’t like doing it for myself. I don’t like helping other people.
I have always been rather traumatised by my glasses. I hate the fact that I am obliged to wear them. I get rather angry and disillusioned with my eyes for their failure to do their job properly. I have mostly chosen glasses in anger, or boredom, or with a sense of nagging futility.
Jason chooses glasses in a much different, more Mr. Spock like way. It takes forever. Truly it does.
Today he not only had an eye test and new glasses, but also new prescription sun glasses and regular sun glasses.
We were in Vision Express for so long I think Joe thought we were moving in.
Nevertheless, he was very gracious towards us, and the fact that Jason tried on nearly every single pair of glasses in the shop. He was also happy to turn a blind eye to Oscar and Tallulah who were making phones with the paper cups from the drinks dispenser, and calling each other, rather loudly, across the shop floor. He put up with me and Tilly being very silly (delirium due to glasses fatigue).
He is a good man.
His customer services is excellent, and although I am generally ‘outraged of Knighton (nee Broughton Astley)’ as I wend my way through various consumer based travesties perpetrated upon my person, I do like to give credit where credit is due.
He was so good at his job, in fact, that after having failed to buy myself new glasses at the same time as I had new contact lenses last month, I finally succumbed to new frames.
And I like them.
They were, of course, and it will come as no surprise to those of you who know me, one of the most expensive pairs of glasses in the shop. They are not very exciting, they are simple black frames, elegant and unfussy. I liked them because they weren’t trying to do anything except be glasses.
I did not pick them because they were expensive. I never do. I picked them because I liked them, and then found out that they were hideously expensive.
It is a skill I have.
I like them so much, that when I got home this evening, I deliberately took my lenses out, to put my glasses on.
I’m still wearing them now. They make me feel efficient.
It’s an illusion, but it’s one I don’t get to savour very often, so I will run with it.
Thank you Joe.