On the one hand, I've been doing the rugged individualist thing, and finishing gifts and goodies that are truly one-of a kind. Pix next post; see below for this week's excuse.*
On the other, I've been doing my bit for the economy, and shopping for mass merchandise on line.
I've noticed that gift certificates have become accepted as gifts in and of themselves. There are snazzy envelopes, little stuffed toys that are made to hold a gift card, multiple layers of presentation--because, after all, it's about having stuff on and under the tree to gloat over during Advent, and to open on the Big Day. I'm not sure whether to celebrate the beginnings of common sense here, or to mourn the death of innovation.
Finding out what people want without asking is an art form in and of itself. Figuring out who's close enough to know their interests and hobbies (and the stash they already have; determining where to get a book on Egyptian fly-tying; and then keeping your cards close until all is torn asunder are all skills that take years to master.
Unfortunately, who has time for that anymore? And who has space for all the stuff you want, never mind all the stuff you receive? "Dear Aunt Ermintrude: Thank you for the SpongeBob underpants. I will think of you every time I wear them under my Armani suit to opening arguments. Perhaps they will bring me luck." At least with a gift card, if I wind up with SpongeBob on my lingerie, it was my whimsical choice, not a dotty aunt's memories of her beloved little niece from thirty years ago.
*No pix this time because I can't get on the floor. Threw my back out badly; the chiropractor may make it so I don't walk like Groucho.
Took a slow walk around the block for mobility's sake--if you don't move it, you will lose it--and was thinking "This is what it's like to be old." There was water on the sidewalk from the sprinklers watering a winter lawn. While the bike path was dry, that would mean stepping off the curb, and then back up onto it. Walking over the wet sidewalk meant staying on the flat, but risking slipping and not being able to get back up. Walking over the wet lawn meant a softer place to fall, but still slippery.
And pondering these options, I realized that this was why you'd see a senior standing at a decision tree like this, mulling over the best of the bad lot. Perhaps I'll remember this the next time I see a little old lady standing and shaking her head at a puddle in her path.