What Is It About Me and Gifts?

I seem to have an incredible knack for upsetting my loved ones when it comes to gifts for special occasions.

I was away in the army when I turned 21, on patrol in Angola to be specific, and two of my comrades gave me gifts of a can of warm beer and a pack of cigarettes. I had been wanting to get myself a nice watch for some time and when I came home on leave, one of the first things I did was go and buy myself one. I couldn’t afford the Seiko I wanted but settled on a nice Pulsar, that I still wear today. When I got home from the shop I showed it to my late mother, thinking she would be pleased at my purchase. Her reaction was quite the opposite; she became angry at me, saying she was going to buy me a watch as a 21st gift, and that I should have realised that. She seemed to think that I had done it deliberately to spite her and responded by giving me no 21st birthday gift at all.

Over the years since then I have on several occasions upset Mela; sometimes by buying myself something only to find that she had already bought it for me as a gift for an upcoming birthday or Christmas; other times by not immediately using a gift she gave me. This was the case last year when she bought me a lovely new wallet. I put it away for the day when my current wallet wore to the point of needing replacement. Mela, thinking I didn’t like her gift, became upset. I explained that, in general, men are not like women who will happily use more than one of the same item, alternating between them from time to time. Most men on the other hand prefer to use a single item until it wears out before starting to use another. This was the case with the wallet. I have lately been eyeing the corner of my current wallet that is starting to tear and thinking that I will soon start using the one Mela gave me.

The latest upset happened today when I bought myself a Fisher Space Pen, something I’ve been wanting to get for a long time. I showed it to Mela when I got home and she became upset as she had already bought one last month as my Christmas gift. Now Mela is upset because I ruined her surprise and I’m sad because I’m reminded of the 21st birthday watch incident. Sometimes I wonder if it is safe to buy myself anything without checking with my family first, but then it would have been difficult for Mela to keep her secret while preventing me from buying the pen if I had mentioned my plan to purchase it. But in any case, I am sorry I spoiled your surprise my love.

4 responses to “What Is It About Me and Gifts?

  1. Perhaps you should wait until after the special occasions to make your purchases or at least don’t let others know what you really want if your plan is to get it yourself.


    Enjoy the pen

    P.S. The Russian solution was to use pencils, such a simple solution to the problem.

  2. You’re right, but you know how it is, sometimes you just don’t think these things through.

    BTW, the thing about the Russians using pencils is a myth, as is the often associated info about NASA spending huge amounts to develop the space pen. Snopes debunks both ideas here.

  3. I agree with Sourena. No buying yourself presents at least a month before your bd or christmas.

    If I was Mela I would have said nothing and still wrapped and given you the present for Christmas and then explained she’d already bought it. Give you the receipt and let you trade it in for something else you would like.

  4. After using my space pen for a few weeks I love it so much that I would have just kept the other one too. Mela is using the one she bought and loves it too. It’s marvellous to have a pen that writes smoothly on any surface.

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