People think that if you don’t work outside the home, all you do is lie around and eat bonbons and watch stories. First? There’s only like one soap opera left on TV. Second? I prefer Cheetos. There’s so much to do around the house even now that both Girl Child and Boy Child are out of the house. Chuck and I were both sick during Thanksgiving, and I’d just had enough of walking through the living room thinking about how it really needed to be dusted. So I hired an imaginary maid, Blanche.
Blanche came highly recommended from the tap instructor of my imaginary twins Sizzlene and Formicadinette. But it’s been a while since I’ve managed people, and I guess I’m out of practice. So here’s a thing. I said to her yesterday, I said, “Blanche, that Christmas tree isn’t going to decorate itself.” And she, cheeky thing that she is, said to me, “Missus, CTFO and drink your bourbon.” Now, I was totally on board for the latter, but I had to call a teenager to ask what a CTFO was. And I’ll just say this, I’m very hot-natured so I thought that was kind of nice.
We’re going to get that damn tree up today. Or maybe tomorrow. Point is, we’re getting that damn tree up. Just a little while ago while she was admonishing me for not polishing the silver more regularly and with more vigor, I told her I thought it would be nice if we had a fire in the fireplace. Actually, I was back in the bedroom going through the pockets of every jacket I own to find a freaking tube of Burt’s Bees or Lip Smackers or any of the 5,930,372 tubes of lip stuff I KNOW I own but can’t ever find, and she was in the dining room doing whatever it is maids do in dining rooms. So I called to her. I said, using my outside voice, “BLANCHE! FOR GOD’S SAKE GO PULL THAT LIMB THAT FELL SATURDAY OFF THE CARPORT ROOF AND START A FIRE!” Well, then I hear my text alert and was about to ignore it like I normally do, but I was hoping to hear from my friend who was having silicone injected into her earlobes today. She has always had the most leaf-like lobes. Just weird and thin and, well, unattractive. But it was Blanche!
Can you believe that? Part of her contract is that SHE does my pedicures every Wednesday. I can’t believe she forgot that’s tomorrow. Much more of that and she can just go back to cleaning floor wax out of shoe taps.
So, here’s the thing. I punched a badger.
I have a nasty bruise, a major knot, but nothing broken. I know nothing is broken because I had an appointment with my orthopedist about my other hand. I have arthritis. I’m a hip, happening young gal like that. I asked him if he’d just take a look. He told me while it was the worst case of badger abuse he’d ever seen, nothing was broken.
Thing is? The badger didn’t exist. I had a dream this badger was following me around the backyard of the house I grew up in. It wouldn’t go away. Obviously, it gave not one shit that it was annoying me. Finally, I was all look. This has to stop. I’ve got things to do. He reared up on his hind legs, and I clocked him one. But I actually punched. Like in real life. I knocked out the headboard. FORTUNATELY, The Chuck had already gotten up. That would have been a fun shiner to explain: “Uh, yeah, my wife thought I was a badger…well, she was asleep…right hook…no, I don’t think her footwork was that great because SHE WAS ASLEEP…yes, she has an excellent therapeutic team, thank you.”
I have run in my sleep several times–nearly rendering my honey a soprano. I’ve yelled for help, for The Chuck, for quiet, and once I woke up saying, “I’d have thought that would have been printed on there.” I routinely flail and often have to apologize to my bed-mate for smacking him one. I thought the badger was a new thing, but according to The Chuck and The Girl I had dreamed about badgers before. You may have a recurring dream about showing up for the first day of school naked, I have a recurring dream about a member of the weasel family that is the main source of trichinosis outbreaks in the Alti region of Russia.
Also? Not for nothing, but it’s kind of hard to find a country that rhymes with “badger”.
When did we stop giving and start gifting? Were we gifting before 2009? Was it before or after we turned “friend” into a verb? I can’t remember. I just know it drives me nuts, this gifting.
My Facebook feed has become populated with people who were gifted. And I don’t mean like they can do long division in their heads or could play Chopin in kindergarten (these two feats carry equal weight in my world). One person gushed about how she was gifted a beautiful peace lily. Nice. One woman had been gifted some homemade preserves. I like preserves. One woman was gifted a repurposed…you know what? It doesn’t matter a repurposed what. The fact “gifted” and “repurposed” were used in the same sentence by someone not demonstrating cheap summer crafts with bendy straws on the Today show was enough to make me remove her from my cocktail party list. (NOTE: My cocktail party list is totally fictional. Having a cocktail party would involve people. And cleaning the 472 cases of sparkling water and Dr. Pepper out of the dining room.)
When one gifts rather than gives, one makes it all about the giver. The recipient is just an innocent bystander forced to accept a vintage crying clown rendered in porcelain because it was fabulously kitschy. Had the recipient been given the sad clown, she might have thought, “Wow. My friend saw this and thought of me. She must have remembered the conversation we had about my Aunt Mitty-June who collected porcelain clowns and how as a child I was simultaneously fascinated and petrified by them.” When the same friend is gifted, the conversation is more like the giver thinking, “I remember a story of something about clowns scaring the crap out of her. I’ll give her this Pagliacci figurine to show her I’m both cultured and an active listener. Plus no one else will be in on the joke so I’ll get to tell the whole story at the party.” Ninety-five percent of all items bought to be gifted are bought at Anthropologie. True fact.
Gifting is selfish. Gifting is done by people who spend too much time on Pinterest and believe every occasion must be marked by giving out personalized cupcakes and renting a photo booth. If you’re being gifted, I can just about guarantee it’s by someone who doesn’t know how to change a tire. I have a firm policy of not making friends with anyone who can’t change a tire. It’s like trusting someone who has no tools. HOW CAN YOU BE FRIENDS WITH THAT PERSON? Who doesn’t need a screwdriver? Gifting is trendy. Gifting is the friend who wears a seersucker shorts suit and gold platform wedges. Giving is your friend who would smack you upside the head because a grown-ass, 45-year-old woman should know better.
It might be better to give than to receive. It certainly is if you’re on the receiving end of a set of placemats repurposed from your friend’s children’s juice box straws.