"So what arrived in the post for you today?" Jenn asked as I showered.
Standing there naked (sorry to give you that visual image) I felt especially vulnerable.
"They're Kevlar jeans," I said. "They were only £25. Probably crap, since all the other prices I see for them are upward of £100, but, hey: £25."
That's right, Chris. Emphasise the price. Slowly, slowly.
I had bought the jeans off eBay a few days before. When they arrived, I made the decision to leave them and their packaging on the bed, where Jenn could see them. She has eased her attitude toward motorcycles and even makes an effort to look interested –– or, at least, bite her tongue –– if I talk about them.
My stated plan, once I earn my license, is to test ride as many bikes as possible –– to allow me the chance to ride a motorcycle without having to buy one (1). Ownership is the ultimate goal, of course, but that won't come for a time. Jenn has come so far as to roughly support this idea and has asked: "When do you think you'll first get a chance to test ride a motorbike? Are you excited?"
But underlying such a scheme is the truth that I will need to sport my own gear. And inevitably that requires Jenn's knowledge of its existence. I've had a helmet for a while now, but haven't really had the guts to tell her about it; I've kept it hidden in the wardrobe.
The purchase of a not-too-frivolously priced pair of Kevlar jeans seemed the perfect way to ease her toward acceptance. In March, the month of my birthday, I was pretty certain she wouldn't protest my spending £25 on something. Indeed, had they been a £50 pair of regular jeans from the Gap she wouldn't blink an eye. This, I felt, was a brilliant plan. A cunning scheme. A winning strategy.
For a tiny moment I was standing, naked, in a vacuum of time and space. Fortunately, I had for a while been bracing myself for the possibility of getting caught. I had already decided the best way forward in such a situation was straight ahead: nonchalant, matter-of-fact. I took a breath.
"I do indeed," I said, trying to sound as I might had she commented on something as obvious as my having feet.
There was silence on the other side of the shower curtain. She was letting me suffer. It struck me suddenly that almost certainly she had found the helmet long ago, that she was aware of this blog, and had been biding her time, allowing my guilt to escalate, before taking one perfectly aimed jab. My wife is a devilishly clever woman. No doubt she knows far more about me than she will ever let on.
"Anyway, chicken alright for dinner tonight?" she asked, changing the subject and letting me off the hook.
The helmet is a known entity now, and that's a tremendous relief.
(1) It has occurred to me that this may be a flawed plan. Surely others have thought of the same thing and dealers have grown wise to it. But I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.