Interpersonal Physics And The Science Of Gift-Giving.

Every time I get here and sit down to type, I wait for a while and think of something. And then I wait a little bit longer to detect said something. That done, I start to type. Unfortunately for you, O Favourite Person Of Mine At This Very Moment, I’m usually too tired or uninspired to really think of much, and so I stop trying and tell you pointless things about my furniture. Or the atmosphere of the inside of my head or what color socks I’m wearing. I apologize for all those times, and I swear tonight won’t be one of those. Tonight I’m thinking of Gifts.

I made a huge deal about my birthday last year, and made a wishlist and put it up and told everyone about it. It worked really well too, but truth is, I really don’t have much in mind when I’m asked what I want. I have big things in mind when I need them..like a phone if mine’s conking off all the time. Or a violin because I’ve been wanting one for years. But if you do give me one of those things I’d probably have to give it back to you. Or take it and feel uncomfortably obligated to you all my life and end up having to send you somebody’s firstborn child. As for the more regular things: I don’t really care much about clothes or shoes or watches or sports..or anything much else.  So if you ask me what I’d like for my birthday, I’ll tell you I need to think about it. I’ll tell you, surprise me. I’ll tell you I’ll make a list and put it up on my blog and link you to it. Most likely, I’ll tell you to buy me a book. But I might not tell you which book to buy, because I often pick books based on the author or on what other people suggest or how nice their names sound. I actually researched a book last week and bought it because it was named ‘The Earth Hums In B Flat’. It won’t be here till August 5 but I digress. My point is, I’ll tell you to buy me a book because that’s one thing I will always, always need.

I was thinking of all these things today, and for a while I was somewhat bewildered. Because here’s the thing, Zonk: I love getting gifts. I love it when someone gives me something that I really care about that I didn’t even know I needed but of course I did. And that was when it hit me:

Gift-giving is an exact science. You need to really get someone to please them. You need to know if they are the type that like big things or small. You need to consider the magnitude of their needs and measure it against their reasons for needing them. When they say they want something you need to observe their claims and draw up your own conclusions and never mind what they seem to have been saying all along. You need to read their wishlists, and if you give them something from it for their birthday, then know they will be happy because they asked for it. But if you give them something tiny on a random day, and you’ve gotten your calculations right, then know they will be ecstatic because small things are so awesome and because they never saw it coming.

I think books are beautiful gifts, and I think the inscriptions in them are even better. I love things that are supposed to be lucky even when I know they’re not and things that could fit in my pocket or hang quietly from a zip on my bag. Or weird stationery; or hand-painted chopsticks that I doubt I’ll ever manage to use but I love the idea of it because I eat noodles all the time. And on any given day of the year, I’d rather have striped socks with toes than a decent pair of shoes.

Ps: I got a bookmark today with magnets on it. It’s pretty cool.

Pps: I made it about me again, didn’t I. Oh well.


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