Earlier today, I received a request from my one, er, I mean, one of my readers. She got the idea on another blog site. And since I would never alienate a (the) reader, I will oblige. Keep in mind this requestor already knows the story. She is a girlfriend of mine and got the real-time you’ve-got-to-be-shitting-me phone call. Girlfriend’s request was this:
“You HAVE to tell the story of the worst gift you ever received!”
Okey-dokey, buckle up kids…
I was newly divorced and newly dating. Please to remember that I had been with the ex since I was 18, so there were certain survival skills I was missing. In those precious formative years when my girlfriends were learning how to weed out the self-centered asswipes, I was stubbornly sticking with the same self-centered asswipe to the detriment of my own development.
I’d been seeing this man child we’ll call Walter, after the farting dog. (And this guy would fart. In front of me. BIG mistake.) He could hold his own in a conversation and be snarky about dumb people, so we had some fun. Unfortunately he was also whiny and insanely narcissistic. Case in point: after I had worked a 9-hour day, only to immediately go and teach for three hours that evening, I arrived at his place exhausted. (As a side note- he never wanted to go to my place. Allergic to cats and “didn’t like taking medicine”. What-ev.) I offered to pay for dinner if he would only go and pick up said dinner so that I might have 15 minutes to decompress. Cue the hissy fit about how he didn’t want to do that because he “expected to be spending time with me”. Seriously. Yes. Another case in point: he called to ask me about my favorite restaurant- a nice place, nicer than any place we’d ever been… so he could take his FEMALE FRIEND there because she “needed an excuse to get dressed up and go out”.
At any rate, even despite my deficit, I knew this particular fella wasn’t “the one”. He assumed from the get-go that we were exclusive, but really? Do I need to explain why I didn’t feel like investing the emotional energy in telling him that not only was he not “the one”, he was one of about six that I was dating/canoodling/otherwise cavorting with?
He’d started doing things like asking if I’d consider raising my kids Jewish (I answered with an abstract ponderance on religious tolerance) and then he said “I love you” on the phone… to which I responded “OK...bye!” So imagine the fear that crept into my heart when he called to say he was on the way over with a surprise for me- and sounded so genuinely pleased and excited. I paced the floor praying to Our Lady of Ann Taylor that this dumbass wasn’t going to propose. He was about to leave on an extended trip and I could just see him wanting to lock me in before he left… I think I threw up at least once, but that could have been the eight vodka shots- I mean, glasses of water I drank to get rid of my nervous hiccups.
He arrived with… (sit down… trust me)
TWO VENUS FLY TRAPS.
Yes, the plants. The ones that eat flies. One for him and one for me. Aren’t you just swooning from the romance? No? Cynic.
Lest you think me some materialistic snob, you should know that I would indeed have swooned over say, a bar of dark chocolate or good paperback- either of which would have cost him less than those … things.
That was the point- this “gift” (term used loosely) demonstrated that not only did this guy not know a damn thing about me, he didn’t care to even try. I make no secret of the fact that I am the evil black thumb of death to all plants. I also don’t try to disguise that I am in no way shape or form an “outdoorsy” type of chick who might put carnivorous botanicals on her amazon.com wish list. If you insist on bringing flora of some kind, I am the type of woman you bring cut flowers intended to look lovely with no expectation of long-term of survival.
The kicker of all this? Dear Walter would like me to keep these atrocious little beasts while he is away on his trip. Yes, he wanted me to FEED the damn things. And let them live in my space. With my cats. This was, as they say, the venus fly trap that broke the relationship’s last straw nerve. I put them on a windowsill in my office and dumped some flat diet coke into them when I remembered. Oh, and I let my student worker stick her pencil eraser into their little jaws every so often just for shits and giggles.
When Walter returned two weeks later, I picked him up from the airport as promised. (I should note that I met Husband during those two weeks. And I DID know he was “the one”. J) In the cup holders of my car were the sad wilting remnants of Walter’s love offerings. We had a 15-minute car ride to his apartment which was just enough time for me to rattle off my “this just isn’t working out… and oh, by the way, sorry… don’t know what’s wrong with the plants” speech. I don’t think I let him get more than about three words in before I pulled in the parking lot of his apartment complex and evicted him, his luggage, and those wretched plants. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even put the car in park- again, it just seemed like too much effort for that relationship.
So that, my friends, is the story of the worst gift someone ever tried to give me. Let this be a cautionary tale: venus fly traps are the sort of present you should give VERY selectively. Really, it’s a very niche market for venus fly traps suitable for gifting. Chances are, if your lady friend shaves her armpits you should choose something else.
Husband arrived for our first date with M&Ms, which I had mentioned in passing on the phone three nights earlier. Hence the marriage and allowing him to impregnate me.
How about you? Worst gift? Best one?