December 20, 2001
Gifting (And Re-Gifting)


Scene 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 craft classes.

Oh crap.

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 not-insignificant detail.

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 Ю僱êrvØ¡ -- 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 feel?

But all of that has changed, obviously.

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.


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Scene 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. ed kaz on 'sixty minutes'

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 SecraTerri@aol.com.

Oh crap.

I'd completely 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 or well-constructed vile pornographic spam -- and setting up deflector shields seemed like the only way to stop it, once and for all.)

"I'm 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.)


      *      *      *      *      *      *


Scene 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* Ю僱êrvØ¡ is HER old college pal, Dave Rafter ...a friend she hasn't seen in twenty years. ("The funny thing is 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.

Oh crap.

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 any 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 'problem.' Challenging, yes. Ever-so-slightly inconvenient occasionally, yes.

But a problem? Noooooooo.

Not as long as I can give my boss those napkin rings.

Or a CDNow Gift Certificate.



tell 'em secra sent you

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© secraterri 1998-2001
all rights reversed reserved!
comments/questions/spelling corrections HERE
~ nil bastardum carborundum ~

thank you to:
everybody who wrote to volunteer to be my secraterri ...
everybody who wrote to tell me where i can find "racketty-packetty house" ...
... and my friend edmundkaz for the lovely cdnow gift certificate,
which i'm sure will be arriving shortly.