bunt sign

Friday, December 22, 2000

Last night, in a frenzied flurry of measuring, cutting, folding and taping, I got everything wrapped. My tree looks absolutely lavish, with packages of all colors and sizes beneath it. Some, I'll admit, are empty, but that only adds to the mystery and magic.

None of them will be opened here anyway, as far as I know. They all have ultimate destinations where the paper will be torn away and the tastefully chosen gifts within revealed. Okay, so the taste with which they were chosen is my own admittedly inferior taste, but I can promise that a lot of thought went into the choosing, even if it's not immediately evident.

It'll be a few more days before I can write about what I'm giving to everyone, but let me use Mom's birthday, just past, as a case study. I was in trouble, with just a couple of days left, so I started badgering Suzanne for ideas.

She finally found out that Mom needed slippers, and I spent a couple of hours (of company time) wandering the mall last week, looking for something perfect. And failing that, settling for the best I could find.

There was something else I wanted to add to the package, and this I knew about all along. I've been listening to A New Standard, by Steve Tyrell, more than any other CD I have for a few months. It has songs from Mom's era, done in classic style but with a warmth that you don't often hear given to these great standards any more. I loved this CD, knew she would too, and wanted to share.

But I couldn't find it in any of the stores where I shopped. I ordered it from one online retailer, and it came a week before her birthday. Except that it was a cassette, not a CD. So I ordered it from another online company, and paid the extra two-day shipping charge. It finally arrived yesterday, two days late.

On her birthday, I wrapped up my copy and gave it to her. And now between the two of us we have three copies, two on CD and one on cassette. Since she's been sick, I don't know if she's had a chance to listen to it yet. I'll be surprised if she doesn't like it as much as I do.

Now that I have everyone else's gifts taken care of, I can start thinking about what I'm getting. Crass, I know, but people always ask what I want, and I always think they know without my telling them. Not that they should know, just that they probably already do.

I guess I think everyone knows me as well as I know myself, especially this year, after eleven and a half months of pouring the contents of my mind and my heart out onto the WWW for WW consumption. I mean, you knew that my bathroom scale rusted, right? And that my blender blew up.

It should be pretty easy to figure out what I'm getting. Except I always think I know, and I'm always wrong. Every year for as long as I can remember I've been surprised by every package I've opened.

So this year, I'm not expecting anything. If I'm going to be surprised, I might as well be surprised without thinking I know what I'm going to be surprised with. I honestly have no idea what anyone is giving me, but I can say firmly that I do not expect either scales or a blender.

Somehow, just two days of wallowing in my latest disorder have left me so totally out of phase that I need to be reprogrammed. I was doing so well, before all this, that I actually thought I might get through January without the usual scars.

And now this. I'm eating soup out of a can, and stacks of generously buttered toast. I'm lying around all day while work piles up on my desk. I haven't read a word in either of the two novels I started, and I haven't written much worth reading. I sleep because I dose myself with anything (legal) that I can get my hands on.

I'm leading a wholly different life than I was a few days back, and liking it way too much. I always knew I had it in me to be a bum, and all I needed was a reason. And here comes the weekend, and Christmas, and then the week after Christmas followed by another long weekend, followed by (ugh!) January. How many excuses does one guy need?

If I ever get back into a productive rhythm, it'll be a miracle beyond my own imagining. It'll take an effort that I haven't shown much evidence of being able to put forth. I'll have to be organized, determined and focused, qualities that I think I've buried along with the celery sticks I was eating for lunch there for awhile.

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