My Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I had already decided that this year all my Christmas and birthday gifts would be diverted to other people, namely the gift-givers themselves.
So I told my Mom that for my birthday, I wanted her to do something nice for her wife, and I wanted her wife to do something nice for my Mom. Part of the reason is the whole "pay it forward" concept. Rather than buying me things, do something nice for someone. A good deed is worth more than some cheap consumer product anyway.
But beyond that, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but over the last couple of years, getting gifts from my Mom has been kind of...well, counter-productive.
We're both practical people, mother and son, so when she asks me what I want for my birthday or Christmas, I usually have practical suggestions.
A couple years ago, when the Indiana Jones trilogy came to DVD, I asked for that, thinking...well, I'm going to buy it anyway, but if I get it as a gift, I can save myself some money and fulfill the whole gift-giving obligation for someone else. Win-win!
My Mom, bless her heart, bought the Indiana Jones trilogy for me from Amazon.com. Of course, not knowing how particular I am about these things, she inadvertently got the Full-Screen version.
Again, not to sound ungrateful, but I already HAD the full-screen version...on VHS. The whole point of this exercise was to upgrade to the digital not-available-on-VHS wide-screen version.
I made her take it back (keep in mind, she got it from Amazon.com) and get me the one I wanted. (Sadly, on this one, I was doomed to have regrets either way: Regret being an ungrateful jerk, or regret having two equally useless full-screen versions of the Indiana Jones trilogy.)
Then about two years ago, for Christmas, I requested some steel-toe boots "that laced all the way up." Now, looking back on it, I can see how my request can be misconstrued. "Laced all the way up? Don't all boots lace all the way up?" If I had been more direct in my language, I might have said, "One that laces all the way up, in other words, none of those stupid hooks."
You see, I have odd-shaped feet. They need the goldilocks of boots...loose enough for my foot to fit, but not so loose they come flying off with each step. With hooks, you've got to tie it tight enough to stay on the hooks, but you can't get it loose enough so that it's not cutting off circulation. Not on my mutant feet.
Which is why I wanted eyes, so I can lace it all the way up. Last night, knowing that I'd be trudging through a half-mile of snow, I grabbed the boots...and now my feet are killing me!
The last straw came last Christmas. I asked for a bagless vacuum. Like I said, I'm a practical person and a bagless vacuum has been on my want list for a while. Not because I needed a new vacuum -- because my old one worked just fine -- but because I wanted to upgrade to a bagless unit.
Wouldn't lose suction, can dump it right on the compost heap, never need to buy or throw away bags.
But what did I get? A regular old bagged vacuum. Not the end of the world, of course, but not exactly what I wanted. I mean, here I am replacing a perfectly good bagged vacuum with...a perfectly good bagged vacuum. My old one lasted over ten years. This one will probably last about the same.
Which means I'll be over 40 before I get a goddamn bagless vacuum!
I'm not mad about it. (How could I be? It's the thought that counts, and it's not like I said "bagless or nothing." I said "bagless vacuum" and she definitely got the vacuum part!) But I'm not exactly satisfied, either.
So here I am, stuck with boots that don't fit right, a vacuum that doesn't do what I want it to do, and if I hadn't been a wide-screen Nazi, I'd be stuck watching 4/5ths of the Indiana Jones movies.