When I was younger and singler and stupider, I was afflicted with a bizarre hubris that made me think I could find the perfect gift for anybody. This was especially true when buying wedding and baby gifts. Why stick to the registry like a prosaic halfwit when you can surprise your friends with that singular something that will always remind them of terrific, wonderful you?
I was abruptly cured of this disease when I got married, and several of our single friends ignored our registry (and nimbly avoided getting us something we might actually want) in favor of useless gewgaws we have yet to unpack. Like picture frames. And decorative bowls. And homemade things that defy the basic tenets of logic and taste.
And vases. My god, the vases. I’m as much of a flower lover as anyone, but dammit, people. We have enough floral display vessels to open a funeral parlor, and all we wanted was a few small appliances and some nice plates. (Granted, these also remain unpacked. But that’s beside the point.) Our vase surplus is more of a nuisance now that Mr. Grabby has mastered his new foldable stepstool. Anything remotely fragile must now be stored at least six feet off the ground, and there’s only so much surface area atop the fridge.
All this, to make a short story long, is prologue to this year’s Secret Santa nonsense. I was assigned a 24-year-old woman I barely know, and I got her an iTunes gift certificate. Conversely, my Secret Santa—a sweet, single woman who meant well—got me another goddamn vase.