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Monday, November 4, 2013

The Explosive Gift Situation : His Version

Note:  For the first time I have let someone else write something for my blog.  After stating how absurd our fight was I had told my friend that I at least appreciated the blogging material.  He then stated that it was only fair that he get to share his side of the story as well.  Here it is...

The gift.
A true story.
By anonymous.

I am the only son of an Italian, divorced, wealthy mother, and for me the nanosecond has always been the unit of measure to count the time intercurring between "I want" and the answer "here it is!" Therefore, when Dawn told me that she bought me a present, I immediately spot the cliffs in front of us. "I'm not very patient, Dawn," is my 'intelligenti pauca' for her. Unfortunately Dawn doesn't speak Latin, and proudly replies with a clear political program of how this affair is going to evolve: "I know. This is why you'll have to wait!"

I met Dawn Antle something more of a year ago in toytown Zurich, and we immediately became friends. She's a mix between a geek (at her job), a Talleyrand (in her social life) and a lioness (as a mother), all in the packaging of a full optional, top level, Canadian. She just can't avoid being used to have it always her way. 

Anyway, on with the story.
In the next two weeks after the official announcement that a gift was waiting for me, and after asking her, probably every day (I'm not sure if I missed one, I would need to check), when I could have it, my expectations had grown like a soufflé. Yellow shields with black horses on them were already flashing in my imagination, when here comes the first cold shower: "it's just not ready yet".  "If it's not ready, can I at least know what it is?". "No", is the reply, "I'll send you a picture". What I see is a cubic shapeless package in a brownish gift paper, unintelligible in size. "Thanks, it's what I've always wished for.", is my sarcastic thought.

I'm now at the point where my patience has to be measured with negative numbers. The mood when you're so hungry that you'd rather eat crude eggs than waiting for the omelette. So I drop her the first warning that I'm at boiling point: I send her pictures of objects that I think might be the actual content. In front of them, a warm blooded mammal, moved by compassion, would just reveal the secret. Well, not her.

A week passes fruitlessly, so I resolve to use the "N" bomb in my arsenal: Give her a present myself. Something that would make her impossible not to reciprocate, something that would make her feel guilty at any time she just looks at that. What I buy is a biscuits tin box with a carillon that rings whenever it's moved. "This is genius", I giggle. "If she doesn't fall for it, she's not human", is my thinking. 

She doesn't. The Canadian Caterpillar, in front of a hint the size of the Matterhorn, just carries on with ruthless stubbornness.

Another week week later,  I'm forced to wave my white flag, but since I would like to have at least the honors of war, I have to resort to Padrino tactics: the proposal that you can't refuse. After a kind good morning from her, I retort: "You're not clearing your conscience so easily, dear. But I'm sure you like this subtle torture, don't you?" Now, this is the closest I can get to begging "give me the damn present now or we are not friends anymore," and anybody who knows me would understand it. But not her. The red fingernailed juggernaut, in front of the moral equivalent of a bleeding horse head in your bed, just escalates to Defcon 1: "That's ok, I will win this one yet."

This is how our friendship was over forever (that is, until she just lowers her big blue eyes and softly whispers 'I'm sorry'). Not because she is an incorruptible torturer without a cause, but because she still hasn't understood that men have feelings too! And that if you shake one of our deepest rooted certainties, i.e. that we can have whatever we want no need to ask, you will get in trouble.

In the end, even I have not clearly understood how a spontaneous act of kindness has been turned into a claw. That's beyond me. What I'm sure of, is that at the end of the story, she'll walk away with it. She always does.

Footnote:  I have to be honest, the battle still rages.  In the end there will be a casualty or two, but I thought it would be interesting to share two sides of a story - and how a seemingly benign, and even intended thoughtful gesture can have the opposite affect when two people refrain from sharing openly.  Even two very good friends...

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