I was walking home from dinner with a friend last week when we passed a row of blacked-out Mercedes and a crowd of paparazzi. My friend, who was very chivalrously pushing my bike for me, pointed out that there must be some kind of event happening.
I wasn’t listening, because I was so delighted that my friend was pushing my bike for me. I have noticed increasingly that small acts of kindness have taken on a disproportionate level of gratitude- on the weekend I implored my friend to marry her new boyfriend after he got up from breakfast to fetch me another glass of juice. It’s this kind of weirdness that really prevents me from hiring a butler.
My Mother, betraying her socio-economic class, often tells us that, ‘Anyone can buy you a Ferrari. You want someone who brings you a cup of tea in the morning.’ I hate eating or drinking in bed: I think it’s unhygienic and makes me feel as though I’m a Victorian lady, hidden away from public view because of some vile and unmentionable illness, such as pregnancy.
Equally, I am delighted by grand gestures: a friend of mine recently traipsed down to the police station to collect my wallet, lost, as far as I can ascertain, because at 4am I threw it, brattishly, into the street. “I am sick of this bullshit,” Another friend recalls me shouting. I think at the time I felt I was making an important comment on rampant capitalism and the growing wage inequality, but it turns out I was just a drunken woman yelling and throwing stuff about like an arse.
So, unlike my Mother, I would be delighted if someone bought me a Ferrari; yet irritatingly I agree, in the main, with what she is saying. It is better to have a thousand small acts of kindness throughout the year than one, solitary grand gesture. Unlike my Mother, however, who thinks that throwing money at relationships is crass and thoughtless, I am motivated by simple economics: a thousand small things are better than one large one.
Which is what I tried, laboriously, to explain to my friend, when he expressed a somewhat insulting disappointment that we had simply eaten dinner together, rather than attending this much-more glamorous event he was now attempting to wheel my bike around. Unfortunately, he didn’t understand at all, and we ended the evening with him explaining firmly but kindly that even if he could, he would never ever buy me a Ferrari.