December 20, 2001
Gifting (And Re-Gifting)
From My Day, Part One:
JoAnne is walking around
the office this morning, doling out Christmas presents.
"Happy Holidays," she
says cheerfully, as she drops a small gift box on my desktop,
wrapped in gold foil paper. Inside: a lovely blown-glass pendant she
made herself at one of her
I've been feeling almost
nauseatingly virtuous and full of myselves the past few
days, mainly because I was done with all of my Christmas
shopping. As a
matter of fact, I finished it over two weeks ago. This is not usually
the case, believe me. Traditionally, I'm one of those people you see
banging on the door at K-Mart at 11:37 p.m. on Christmas Eve, begging
for "just five minutes in the
Toy Department!" (while the
store manager bolts the door, and sirens are heard in the distance). So
getting all of my shopping done on time -- and under budget -- is a
pretty big deal for me. But now it appears that I've overlooked a
Namely: a Christmas
gift for my boss.
It's not that I forgot,
exactly. As a matter of fact, at one point I briefly considered the
idea of bringing token gifts for the entire office: miniature Whitman
samplers and festive holiday refrigerator magnets for the men,
miniature Whitman samplers and festive holiday potpourri for the women.
But eventually I decided against it. I'm still sort of The New Girl
around The Dirt Company ... I don't have much money this year ...
Christmas completely and totally sucks ... etc. etc. etc. Then I
thought about only giving my boss a holiday gift: a box of Aplets
& Cotlets, maybe, or a nice potted plant for her office. I even
toyed with the idea of giving her a lovely set of Christmas napkin
rings we received as a wedding present last summer, from a distant
cousin several bazillion times removed. We don't even have an
actual TABLE, here in Castle
-- let alone actual napkins requiring actual napkin rings.
Would it be terribly tacky of me to pass them along to someone who can
get some use out of them?
In the end, I
decided to bag the whole thing. Why feign a sentiment I don't actually
But all of that has
I pull my battered
notebook out of my purse and scribble a note to myself at the top of
the *To-Do-Tonight-Without-Fail!* List: Buy
JoAnne Christmas Present. She
won't be in the office at all next week -- she's taking a week of
Christmas vacation -- so tomorrow will be my only chance to *gift* her.
And that means that
tonight will be my last chance to shop for her.
I have no clue what to
get for her. I know she likes Harlequin Romances and country music,
neither of which I know a thing about. She doesn't wear cologne that I
can detect. The
only jewelry she wears is the jewelry she makes for herself. She isn't
interested in computer stuff or makeup stuff or trashy pop culture
stuff, as far as I can tell.
I figure I'll just wait
until David and I get to the store tonight, and I'll decide then.
* * * * * *
From My Day, Part Two:
Edmund wants to know if
I ever received the birthday present he sent me last week.
Actually, he's asked me
about it a couple of times already, but I've managed to put off
answering him ... mainly because I haven't
received anything from him yet, and I figured his gift was probably en
route and I would be receiving it any minute, whatever it was, and then
I could write him back and say Yes!
I love it I've eaten half of it already!, instead of having to
write back and sadly tell him No,
I'm sorry, I haven't received anything.
This morning he's asking
again, though, and this time he mentions that it's a CDNow Gift
Certificate ... and that he ordered it to be sent to
forgotten: I went in and fiddled with the Mail Controls on my AOL
account, a couple of months ago. Right now SecraTerri is blocked from
receiving e-mail from everybody except herself, her family and a
teeny-tiny handful of her grooviest online friends. (This is because
SecraTerri was suddenly and mysteriously drowning in spam -- spam of a
particularly vile and pornographic nature: and not even good
vile pornographic spam -- and setting up deflector shields seemed like
the only way to stop it, once and for all.)
sorry," I tell Edmund, as soon
as I realize what has happened. "Is
there any chance we can have the gift certificate forwarded to one of
my *other* addresses?" And I
offer to provide him with all 43,897,621 of my current e-mail addresses
... including my work address, the stealth names I use on David's AOL
account whenever I want to spy on people who hate me, and
the Ultra Top-Secret Family-Only/Emergency-Only Address. But no, it
turns out that the gift certificate has already gone out to SecraTerri
... and unless SecraTerri is "home" to sign for it when it lands in her
e-mailbox, it's going to be marked Return To Sender.
(And I'm thinking that I
would really actually like to have this gift certificate. There is a
certain Simon & Carbuncle Anthology I've had my eye on, for the
past little while. Either that, or I might finally get my hands on that
eponymous Five Man Electrical Band album I've been looking for for the
past thirty years.)
I pull the battered
notebook out of my purse, once again, and add a new note to myself at
the top of the *To-Do-Tonight-Without-Fail-I-Mean-It!* List: Plug
SecraTerri's mail account back in. (Or at least tweak it a little,
so she can receive mail from the nice
folks at CDNow.)
* * * * * *
From My Day, Part Three:
David calls me at work
in the middle of the afternoon. "We have to remember to write back to
her tonight!" he says happily.
He's all excited about
an e-mail I received this morning, from a woman who has been reading
*FootNotes* for three months without realizing that *my*
old college pal, Dave Rafter ...a friend she hasn't seen in twenty
years. ("The funny thing
that I have been reading your journal for the past few weeks, and
starting to feel like I know you,"
she wrote, "and now it puts
the oddest perspective on all the journal entries I've read before
because you've gone from being a stranger to being the wife of an old
friend.") I assure David that
I've already added it to the *To-Do-Tonight-Without-Fail-I Mean-It!*
List ... along with all bazillion and a half other things we need to
take care of.
That's when he reminds
me that we have the kids tonight.
Not only is it a
We-Have-The-Kids Night, it's sort of an extra heavy-duty
We-Have-The-Kids Night, meaning that the chances of us being able to do
Christmas shopping after work are slim to none. "That's not going to be
a problem, is it?" he asks, and I say no, of course it's not going to
be a problem. Having David's children stay over with us is never EVER a
yes. Ever-so-slightly inconvenient occasionally, yes.
But a problem?
Not as long as I can
give my boss those napkin rings.
Or a CDNow Gift
throw a snowball