The Lizard Chronicles

Some of this is true. Some of this is better. –Too Much Joy

The Gift That Keeps on Sucking December 23, 2013

Filed under: Life tales — lizardesque @ 6:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

No, really.

There are any number of awful stories I could tell you about the relationship I had in my late college and early graduate school years, but that’s not really what this post is about. The relationship was catastrophic in innumerable ways, but I will say one thing: he had an extraordinarily generous family (his mother in particular). She was generous not only with her attention and affection, almost instantly making me feel like part of her family, but also with gifts. In the time I was dating Bob*, I received an embarrassment of riches on birthdays and holidays. Rollerblades, a really nice watch, a couple of vacations, and a variety of other items I would never have expected were bestowed upon me, and my protests of “Really, no. This is too much!” were met with the wave of her hand. Giving these things made her happy, she assured me, and to not accept them would make her unhappy.

One Christmas, she gave me a vacuum.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated the generosity. It was a useful, not to mention expensive gift, particularly for a poor graduate student who did not own a vacuum. I smiled and thanked her, doing my best not to show her that inside, I was bristling. She may not have meant anything by it. She may have simply saw a need in my life and found a gift that filled it, but in my mind (which granted, at the time, was greatly influenced  by the rather shabby state of my relationship with man-child Bob), she was saying, “Look! Now you can clean up after my son just like I used to!” My thoughts were not completely out of left field. As nice and generous as she was,  Bob’s mother had often given me the sense that she was (whether intentionally or inadvertently) cultivating “motherly” behavior in me. This, of course, usually made me recoil because I did not want to be anyone’s mother, much less my boyfriend’s.

All that said, the vacuum was certainly useful and saved me the choice between living with dirty floors or shelling out the money to buy one myself. When Bob and I broke up, he made a claim to the vacuum. “My mom bought that for us,” he said. “It’s mine.”

“No,” I protested, clearly remembering the T0: Liz tag on the shiny paper. “She bought it for me.”

“I’m going to ask her and see what she says,” he said smugly, obviously quite sure that his mother would side with him.

She didn’t.

“Okay, yeah,” he muttered some time later in humble annoyance. “She said that was a gift to you.” The vacuum was mine.

Some 17 years later, that vacuum is still working. My husband, who takes care of vacuum detail at our house, will tell you–it still does quite a nice job!

*Not his real name.

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