December 18, 1998
Vicariousness


Working on it.
Spending a little *quality time* with Miss Clairol this morning. (She's not a brilliant conversationalist ... and she smells disconcertingly of ammonia ... but she DOES come with these nifty little clear plastic gloves. And she is one of the few people in my life who has never given me gray hair.) You know the drill: click here to read the past two less-than-fabulous journal entries, squooshed together ... and then check back later. (Maybe I'll be a blonde by then. Or else I'll just play one on my website.)


Later That Day:

So David comes home last night, all revved up, and announces that he's going to the mall.  His office gift exchange is the following day, and he needs to pick up something for one of his co-workers. One of those ten-bucks-or-less sorta deals. 

"Wanna come with me?" he asks.

I have spent my afternoon folding laundry and watching the bombs burst in air over Baghdad.  I am abundantly ready for a trip anywhere ... even to the mall. (Malls generally ranking right below the endodontist's office  --   or Baghdad  --  on my List of Fun Places To Go. Especially during the holiday season.)  "I'll put my shoes on," I tell him. 

Five minutes later we're in the car and driving across the island of Alameda.  The night is clear, and KFOG-FM is on the radio. David babbles happily about his latest post on the AOL message boards, while I squint into the darkness, nose pressed to the window, blurrily enjoying the scenery. (My glasses are in my pocket. The left lens keeps popping out at unexpected moments, and although David managed to reinforce it with a little piece of guitar string the other day, I try not to wear them except in cases of dire emergency. Even though the view is fuzzy, I am still like a little kid glimpsing Disneyland for the first time, whenever we drive around Alameda.  By day, I love the stately Victorian homes and incongruous palm trees, lining the streets. By night, I love the Christmas decorations. It is one of the few things I am actually enjoying about this particular holiday season, as a matter of fact. Here in The Castle, the sum total of our *holiday decorating scheme* amounts to one slightly-lumpy snowman candle, plunked atop the computer monitor, and a Christmas card from our chat room friends JOC & KKelbob, propped next to the stereo. There just hasn't been time or energy or room for anything more complicated. So it's a treat to venture out onto the island and vicariously enjoy other peoples' decorating efforts. Even the ones that really suck. (What IS the deal with these clumps of twinkly white lights, all of a sudden?? They look like someone just closed their eyes and threw the damn things into the air, hoping for art.)

We get to the mall, where David announces that he is thinking of buying his co-worker a "pocket knife" for the gift exchange.

A pocket knife. OK.

I find this amusing for two reasons. Reason #1: as some of you are aware, I spent the last year working for one of the premiere *sporting knife* manufacturers in the world.  David owns not one, not two but three very fine Benchmade knives, thanks to yours truly (and my late, lamented employee discount). So he knows the difference between a "pocket knife" and a REAL knife.  Reason #2: The co-worker whose name he drew is (as he has described her) "a nice, middle-aged, Christian woman." I have to seriously question how delighted this "nice, middle-aged, Christian woman" would be to receive a POCKET KNIFE as a Christmas present ... even from someone as charming and fabulous as David ... and I very sweetly and diplomatically point this out to him. ("Are you NUTS??")  And then I drag him in the direction of the Hallmark Shop, where we pick out a tasteful Keepsake Christmas Ornament  --  a bluebird, wearing a winter scarf, $9.98.  I try to convince him to buy one of those cute little Christmas gift bags to put it in, but he is having none of it. "When did they start selling these?" he asks, incredulously, turning the bag over and over in his hands;  I explain that gift bags have been around forever, since before the dawn of time, even, and that they're extremely convenient, and that they're generally considered appropriate for any occasion ...

... and I have him about 3/4 of the way convinced, I think,  when he flips one over and looks at the price. "I'll wrap it myself," he says. And that is more or less that. But at least I do convince him to buy a nice shiny red bow for the top of the package.

Our errand completed -- I will be doing *my* Christmas shopping, as usual, on the morning of the 24th -- we go next-door to the grocery store and pick up some dinner stuff, and then we drive back across the island and I squint at all the decorated houses on the other side of the street ...

... and when we get home to our sparsely decorated little apartment, we spend the rest of the evening doing our usual David-and-Terri *stuff.* 

Fortunately, glasses were NOT required for this.

And that's ALL she wrote.



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