Thoughts by Richard Bleil
My mind is a strange, dark, frightening place. And the way it works is just bizarre. A day or two ago, I had a meeting with the good people for whom I am an independent contractor to sell their wares. One of the other consultants has a client who has an upcoming birthday and has recently moved to a new state. She was thinking that she would like to throw a combination party, and the consultant was asking how this would work. I wasn’t really listening (sorry), kind of lost in my own mind as they were discussing this. We had moved on to the next topic or two, when I piped up and asked if I had heard correctly that her client had moved a considerable distance. Confirmed, I suggested that she have not one, but actually two parties. A party in the next few days could be a birthday party and all of her old friends will surely make it a success. Then, in a few weeks, she can throw a housewarming party. Surely, by then, she will have a whole new batch of friends local to her new house, and she can invite them. I wasn’t even aware that I was still thinking about this consultant’s question, and when the idea popped up it was really a surprise. But that’s how my mind works.
My friend’s daughter is engaged. She’s a sweetheart and I think very fondly of her (I doubt she thinks as fondly of me but that’s okay), but I doubt I’ll get a wedding invitation. I wouldn’t be able to attend even if I did, but her mother speaks of her periodically. A week or so ago, this young woman posted a picture of herself sitting on a kitchen counter soaking her feet in the kitchen sink. I “liked” it and moved on, not really thinking much about it. Suddenly, a day or two ago, I had an epiphany. The perfect wedding gift for her (yes, even if I’m not invited; like I said, I think of her like a daughter). See, her mom, in one of our conversations, spoke of the circulation in her feet. Surely by now you realize that my epiphany is a heating massaging foot spa. Yes, I bought one for her (and I guess her fiancée as he apparently has similar issues) and a bag of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). They are on their way to her mom. And, don’t worry, I don’t think the bride-to-be reads my blog, but even if she does, by the time this posts she surely has received it.
There is just something about realizing the perfect gift for somebody, isn’t there? Something unique, something that just fits their personality or needs. That picture showed that she apparently does not have a foot spa device, but she needs one. Besides, who doesn’t love a foot massage?
Realizing that perfect gift, as much as it will make the recipient happy, also deeply touches the gift giver. The sudden jolt of the realization, the excitement of ordering it, and the joy of the anticipation until the recipient actually opens it. It’s a wonderful experience, kind of like opening up that perfect pizza you’ve been craving while it’s still hot that you haven’t had in a while and damn I must be hungry.
I’ve written about some of my favorite gifts already. As it turns out, I’m much better at giving gifts than I am receiving. I guess it’s just who I am to believe that I’m really not worthy of gifts myself. The reality is that I probably give far too many gifts, but they’re not all physical. When I’m dating a woman, I enjoy giving her full body massages (without expectations), romantic gestures, and honestly, something as simple as helping her fold laundry. Apparently, this isn’t always appreciated, as my wife once started joking about me helping her fold her underwear because, apparently, she never did before I got there. Heck, I thought I was being nice in helping with this tedious task, but she made fun of it.
Oh well. It’s also true that not all gifts are received with the kind of response or joy that you had hoped. Near Christmas, my parents saved everything they bought as gifts, even if it’s mundane. One year my dad gave, as Christmas gifts, a belly exercise device for losing weight and a toilet flapper to my mother. How they stayed together as long as they did is to this day a mystery to me. But, yes, even something like fixing a toilet that keeps running is a gift. And these blog posts are my gift to you. I hope you enjoy them.