Saturday, November 10, 2012

Past Deadline: Practical and Consumable

Here is “Past Deadline” for the Oct. 4 issue of The Perth Courier.
Practical and consumable
I celebrated a non-milestone birthday recently. I am telling you this not because I want to be showered with gifts and well wishes and congratulations for surviving thus far, but because it gives me something to talk about in this here space.
I’ve reached the age when birthdays are stuck on that ambiguous line between “Pay attention to meeeeee! It’s my birthdaaaaay!!! I’m speshuuuuuullll!!” and “I don’t want to talk about it because apparently I am many, many years older than the 17 I wanna be.”
The one thing that is for sure is that I get picky about gifts. (I know. It sounds utterly ungrateful, but hear me out.) At this stage in life, when I am living in a smallish house surrounded by too many things, I tend to cringe whenever another object enters the building. Thus, gifts that don’t take up much or any space make me happy.
I remember once many years ago having a conversation with an older couple about wedding gifts. They strongly believed that it was in poor taste to give newlyweds money or gift cards – that a gift should be purchased that demonstrated some thought had gone into it. I politely disagreed.
I’m sure there is a whole etiquette book or 500 written on the subject, but having been fairly newly married myself at that time, I remember being just as grateful for the cash and gift cards that filled in the blanks for things we needed as we set up our household, as I was for the things received from our registry list and the other beautiful and thoughtful gifts. It all balances out.
When it comes to birthdays beyond the fourth decade and in an age of consumerism, you get to a point when you feel you have everything you need – within reason, of course. Or at least that’s how I feel.
I mean, I’m sure I need an exotic trip somewhere or a bigger house, but I was not expecting those things for my birthday. At least not this year. Ahem.
I’m also at that dull age when I like gifts to be practical. For instance, Groom-boy and I just bought ourselves an early Christmas present when our vacuum went and died. Wheeeee! (I know. We are the ultimately romantics.)
This year, I have to say, I got some dandy birthday presents: practical and/or consumable.
Groom-boy watches me leave the house at any given time carrying different bags for different meetings. I have one or two Algonquin bags, one for volunteer stuff, another for police services board stuff and then I gather miscellaneous materials together for various other consulting meetings. I am drowning over here in bags filled with folders and files.
So…he got me a bag – a nice one with lots of pockets and divisions that will be quite handy. I could stash most of my life in that bag, I think, and still find surprise compartments.
My bestie cooked me a birthday meal (well, it fed other people, too) with some favourite foods and the added bonus of me not having to cook or clean up afterwards. Practical (because we all have to eat) and consumable!
Another friend stopped by with a tray of goodies – homemade bread, preserves, mints and a little bottle of tequila with a lime in case of an emergency (not that there is anything stressful going on, but that tequila could come in handy). Again – practical and consumable!
I was taken out for drinks on a couple of occasions and given cash in cards….practical and consumable!
The only thing I didn’t get that I could really use is a clone. Possibly people were afraid I wouldn’t like the clone because it would take up space? Oh, well. The tequila will take my mind off it.

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