Saturday, December 23, 2006


I wasn't expecting him. My hair was hanging in wet strings, water drizzling down my chest and back. I was wearing my at-home ensemble, the fetching one in celebratory once-black - cotton knit shirt so thin with age you could blow a hole in it, pants that instantly grow huge knee pouches the minute you sit down. And, come to think of it, although I don't get this view, probably a rear pouch as well. Fuzzy 50s housewife sitcom slippers.

"Thanks for the warning," I say.

"I tried to call you, but I had this new quarter and it wouldn't work in the pay phone and I had to get this to you and I wrapped it myself and it's really, really bad because I did it on the counter at the store...
Maybe you should just leave it in the bag and open it without looking."

When he's taken his coat off and we're sitting at the kitchen table, I pull the huge box out of its plastic bag. Yep. Yep. It's a pretty keen assessment of his wrapping skills all right. Looks a bit like it's been done up by a troop of pawless monkeys who've been into the Christmas punch.

"A friend of mine came along and helped me," he said. It's almost impossible to think anyone could screw up wrapping a box shape that badly but obviously two grown men can botch that up even better than one. The folds are puffing out like the box is about to explode. The ends have layers of paper at impossible angles. And scotch tape, so much scotch tape, was apparently the last ditch try at getting paper to stay around box. I can't stop laughing.

"We didn't have scissors," he says.

And I'm teasing him, but it's a wonderful gift - the thought of this near 200 pound man in a fight to the death with Christmas wrapping. I loved the gift, but really, the box could've been empty and I'd still have loved it.