Today is my wife’s birthday so it is impossible not to write about her. I got her a new custom-fitted road bike for her birthday present. She wasn’t very excited (which suggests she isn’t going to be thrilled with the forty-mile bike ride I’ve got planned for later today). Last year, I got her new golf clubs. She wasn’t very excited by those either. The prior year I got her a new set of dumbbells ranging from 2 to 30 lbs. She wasn’t amused then either, but she is now pumping the 15 pounders and her arms look great. The volleyball set, kayak, Yankee tickets and bike trip in Patagonia met with similar scorn in prior years. It’s hard to find the perfect gift when you only shop in sporting goods stores and stadium souvenir shops.
She gets her revenge on my birthday by buying me something practical like gloves or an umbrella. Since my birthday is in November and I always lose them, it seems like a good idea at the time. Sometimes she gets me new clothes. Generally, they are a new version of something that I already own and have taken years to work lovingly into perfect condition. The not-so-subliminal message is to watch my beloved old clothing very closely because it is destined for the thrift shop when I’m not looking.
As you might have guessed, I am not very good at receiving gifts. If I wanted something I would have already bought it, so whatever you give me is (by definition) something I don’t want or I already have. My family has attempted to outflank my predictable ungracious reaction by looking at my Amazon wishlist to search for possible gifts that I’ve already preselected. The problem with that strategy is that I don’t remember what’s on that list and never go back to edit it. So it includes some pretty obscure stuff. For example, I just checked it and found President Nixon: Alone in the White House, all three volumes of Simon Schama’s History of Britain (see Buying Books), River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (placed on there in 2007 before our trip to China), and An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power (placed on the list in 2004 before we knew the truth). If I got any of that for my birthday, I’d be pretty upset, but it would be my own fault. So I’ve got some editing to do before November. I think I’ll add a 60-inch 3-D LED TV and a new Audi convertible and see if anyone gets the hint.
Happy Birthday Darling, I love you!