Out and about with Mr Z, nobody ever thinks we’re married. I have always had a sense that this was true, but never any proof until I went in to the butcher’s on my own and she said: “Is Will your brother?” Normally, we’d have been there together. I want to say lockdown turned stocking up on meat into a day trip, but that was true even before Covid. We’d treat it like a fairground: “Ooh, pasties! I love a pasty.” “Could we get black pudding past the kids?” and on and on, all the way through the major carnivorous avenues. What brother and sister do that?
“It’s because I’m older than you,” I said to Mr Z. He said: “No, it’s probably because I’m out of your league.” How we laughed.
The next time it was a car-hire place, where we were acting about as married as two people can be. I was trying to hold 17 things in one hand and drink a double espresso in the other; he was suggesting that maybe some kind of receptacle – a bag? – would help and I was spilling espresso and blaming him for distracting me with his “helpfulness”. For God’s sake, should we have been saying “I do” right there in the foyer? “If I could just get the licence details from your colleague,” said the guy.
“It’s because you don’t look at me in a loving way,” I decided. Mr Z said: “It might be because we have different surnames,” and I said: “Whose fault is that?” and he said: “Still yours.”
Last night, we were auditioning a pub as our tertiary local (we already have a main and a reserve). I was against it because it had only hipster lager, no session lager, and he was for it because it had Verdant’s Roy, I Want a Hilux pale ale, then we discussed the aesthetics of the Hilux pick-up truck. Again, how much more married can two people be? “Do you want to split this?” said the barman. “We’re married!” I exploded. “What married couple splits the bill on two pints?”
The pub later passed the audition with its chicken wings; we may not have passed its “regulars” test with flying colours.