xtitsx: (Default)
( 16 May 2017 02:31 pm)
May is an obnoxious month for me, familial obligation-wise.
my Father has a birthday on the 9th, which is right around the same time as Mother's Day.
also, the PSE has a birthday on the 21st, but, that's a whole different kind of problem that i'll worry about some other time.
or i won't. we'll see. for now, my Parents...

most of the time i don't do anything to commemorate my Father's birthday because he is a man and any man worthy of anything doesn't need to be given gifts.
i call him on his birthday, of course and that is good enough.
some years, if i have the time, i will write a nice little note, but that is as far as i have ever gone for my Father's special day because i don't have to go any farther.
but, this year i figured i really ought to do something.
it's goddamned time.

last December when i was back in New Jersey, the PSE found a tie in the parking lot of a Nordstrom's where we went one evening to take shelter from the cold and watch my friend Anthony smoke pot.
i took that tie back to a Nordstroms here in Fort Worth and i returned it and got myself $37 worth of store credit on a gift card.
i figured i could give that to my Dad as a present, because i don't have any idea what else to do.
my Father has absolutely zero hobbies or interests, he is the most boring man in the world, and i don't know what else to do for him.
all he does all day long is watch Fox News and get upset.
if i indulge him in any more of his conservative victim-complex talking points he's going to die of apoplexy.
gift cards in general are bullshit presents, they benefit stores more then they do the people who receive them, but, again, i am at a loss for what to do.
and of course, $37 worth of store credit is kind of a bullshit gift for an upper-middle class man who is turning seventy-six, so i would have to bump that up to an even hundo.
what the fuck is my Dad going to do with $100 in Nordstroms store credit, he only wears sweat pants these days, but i'm hoping it's enough of a gesture to pass the its-the-thought-that-counts test.

i was occupied with Law School finals stuff until the afternoon of 5, May.
which meant that if i wanted to get a present out to my Father in the mail to be delivered by the 9th, i would have to hurry.
at 7:00pm on 5, May, i called the Nordstroms Gift Card hotline to add an additional $63 to the gift card i already had in hand but the lady said they couldn't do that over the phone for some inconvenient reason i don't understand.
the only way to add value would be to do it at a Nordstrom's in person, so i had to get dressed and drive seventeen miles out to the only Nordstroms in town, on the other side of Fort Worth.
the PSE was nice enough to come along with me for the ride, and the Monster came, too, because she can't be left home alone.

we got to Nordstroms a little before 8:00pm and wandered around the department store trying to find an empty cash register to transact our business.
several were busy with vapid housewives and/or inattentive customer service agents taking their goddamned times but eventually we found a nice Black lady with a fun hat in the shoe department who was able to ring us up while effusively complimenting the Monster. thanks, lady!
after topping-up my Father's gift card the PSE and i dragged the Monster into the larger mall.
the last time the Monster was in a mall was just a few weeks after we got her and she was petrified by all the busyness but she has calmed down significantly since then and she took the trip to the mall like a champ who doesn't have any mental problems at all.
no security guards gave us a hard time, which was also nice.
the PSE and i went across the mall to a Macy's to spend another $100 on store credit to send to my Mother for Mother's Day [see below] then hit the Auntie Anne's kiosk for a tasty treat.
the guy working the Auntie Anne's kiosk was an illiterate goon who might have cussed at me when i told him i wanted a pretzel that looked big and fluffy, not the shriveled and burnt one he was trying to hand me.
i didn't take it personally because when you're as ghetto as this unfortunate prole, poor manners are not a sign of disrespect, they're just the way you behave all the time.
the PSE did take it personally.

back at the house, giftcards in hand, i sat down and wrote out a note for my Father.
i didn't have anything particularly inspired to say and the clock was ticking, i wanted to get the letter in the mailbox that night so it would be picked up Saturday morning and get to my Dad by the following Tuesday, so i just scribbled off a few lines.
“i love you very much...” “your love and kindness mean the world to me...” etc...
i concluded by telling him to indulge himself in the fanciest pair of sweatpants he could find at the Nordstrom's but, now that i think of it, i'm sure Nordstroms sells sweatpants that cost more then $100.
in with the letter and the gift card i also packed off several pictures of me and the PSE and the Monster for my Dad to put on the fridge.
my Dad likes pictures.
i got the letter into the mailbox that night and it arrived just in time, Tuesday 9, May.

i called my Father on his special day to wish him a happy birthday.
i wasn't able to get more then seven words out, however, before my Dad launched into a schmaltzy monologue about how great i am.
“you are the most thoughtful, smartest, handsomest boy...
you make me so happy! when i got your card, it was the greatest thing!
i would rather have a card like this then a million dollars!”
“let's not get carried away,” i had to interject. if my Dad is ever faced with the opportunity to get a million dollars or a half-assed letter from me, he goddamned better well take the million.
but my Father continued on and on for several more minutes about how i am the greatest thing in the world.
i wonder where i get my inflated self esteem from.
for a while i could hear him tearing up. i never know what to say when he pulls this shit.
“alright, Pop, well, have a good day!”
later, my Father and Mother went out to eat at an Italian restaurant, empty save for them at 5:30pm on a Tuesday.
back home, they had a Carvel ice cream cake.
that's as good a seventy-sixth as anybody can ask for, really.

the Sunday after my Father's birthday was Mother's Day.
unlike my Father who is a man and doesn't need presents from his only son, my Mother has made it clear that she expects tribute.
for the past four or five years i've been sending my Mother Macy's gift cards for every birthday and Mother's Day.
my Mother doesn't need Macy's credit, she has more then enough cloths and accessories to last her a good decade after her death, and even if she does need to buy herself new cloths, she's got more money in the bank then i will ever see in my lifetime, but the Macy's credit isn't about resources, it's about permission.
for my Mother, shopping isn't about getting nice things, it's about the thrill of the bargain hunt.
filling her closets with cloths and other garbage she will almost never wear is just a side-effect.
when my Mother gets Macy's credit from me, what she is really getting is the opportunity to indulge in bargain-hunting without having to worry about judgment from me or my Father or her own internal awareness about shameful conspicuous consumption.
my Mother can say “well, my son sent this to me, what can i do?” then go trudge through the clearance racks at Macy's with coupons from the monthly circulars, seeing how low she can get an item compared to its original price.
periodically throughout the year she will call me up beaming with a pride i have never heard in her voice when she is talking about me to say “i got myself a sweater that was originally priced at $129, marked down to $79, marked down again to $49, and with my coupons and loyalty discounts, i paid $3.40.”
and i'll say “great job, Ma” and the sweater will go in a bag in the guest room and collect dust until whenever my Mother dies and i throw it in the garbage.
i am only encouraging my Mother's pathology, but having a predetermined go-to to send off to my Mother to make her feel appreciated and loved without having to actually put any thought into it sure is convenient.

in the Mother's Day card i wrote a few paragraphs thanking Mother for all that she's done for me.
this is well-trod ground, i say something i appreciate about my Mother every Mother' Day, so this year i had to dig deep.
what i came up with is that my Mother is a cheep laugh.
my Mother is easy and generous with laughter, i could always make her laugh, and that always made me feel good.
i think of myself as a pretty funny guy, and i guess i have years and years of positive reinforcement from my Mother to thank for that.
so, thanks for that, Mom.

when i talked to my Mother on Mother's Day she had already spent the credit i sent her.
together with some credit she had left over from her birthday Macy's tribute, she went to the jewelry section and bought herself two rings, one fake-diamond, another fake-sapphire.
the credit had only arrived the day before.
my Mother was on that shit like a lion on a lame gazelle.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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