Once I’d sent Wills & Kate their present commemorating 46 glorious years of me, it seemed logical and only fair to make my celebratory merchandise available to the public too. I decided to put my mugs in the shops. Literally in the shops. It tickled me to think of people coming across a fancy, flamboyant mug with my face on it, nestled amongst the other commemorative tat. The incongruity of a mug commemorating an anonymous forty-five year old woman seemed to resonate with the incongruity of a mug celebrating the wedding of two people they’d also never met. So, armed with a steely resolve I made my way to the shops to discreetly place my own mugs amongst the sea of tat.
Did I say discreetly? Have you ever tried putting something in a shop that doesn’t belong there? It was terrifying. Ok, terrifying may be pushing it somewhat. It was deeply uncomfortable though. It’s only when you try to do something like this that you realise how many ‘rules’ we subconsciously engage with in an act as seemingly simple as shopping. You don’t put things in shops, you give them money and they let you take things away. It all felt very odd.
The first shop I spotted that was going to be selling Royal Wedding memorabilia was Lidl. On the allotted Monday I went in, feeling as guilty as David Cameron should be feeling right now, hiding one of my mugs in my coat pocket. I looked around to see where the display was, all the time feeling like the security guard was going to grab me by the arm and march me out of the shop. It took a while to find the display, only to see that they were in individual boxes. They hadn’t been in boxes in the advert! I felt like a rabbit caught in headlights, like everyone in the shop was staring at me. Thoughts were racing through my head. Would I get arrested? Was what I was doing illegal? Was it even funny? Would people get it? The loudest and most persistent thought was, ‘How the HELL am I going to get their mug out of the box and put my one in without being noticed?’ Lao-tzu popped into my head and told me that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I asked him if the journey to the police station began with a single mug but he just looked at me like I was an idiot and disappeared.
So, with a deep breath I opened the red box and took out the mug with the smiling faces of our Happy Couple and looked at it, trying my hardest to seem fascinated, whilst wrestling my own cup out of my coat pocket with fear-wet-shaky hands. I placed the Lidl mug in the next display basket (why did that make me feel so guilty?) and put my own mug in the now vacant box. It didn’t fit! Now I was faced with the prospect of taking my mug out of the box and putting it back in my pocket. I was going to be arrested for shoplifting my own property! That solved it. I couldn’t bear being caught ‘stealing’ a mug with my own face on it so I quickly shut the box as best I could before taking a hasty, shaky picture on my phone. I felt like I was going to call out ‘RUN!’ to no-one in particular and make a mad dash for the door but I even managed to buy some cheap passata on the way out.