I've always had trouble accepting gifts.
When I was a little kid, I remember going with my dad on a trip to visit his parents in Saskatchewan.
One day my Gido (pronounced 'ghee-doe', what we called my Ukrainian grandfather) said he was going to the corner store.
"Do you want to come along?"
I shook my head quietly.
"I'm taking Justin [my cousin] along with me. Are you sure you don't want to come?"
I smiled shyly. "No thank you."
"Then what do you want from the store? Some candy? A chocolate bar? I'll get you something."
I smiled again and shook my head.
Gido had this look on his face like, 'What 6-year-old doesn't want chocolate?'
And the thing was, of course I wanted chocolate. Of course I wanted to go to the store.
But if I went to the store, he'd feel compelled to buy me something. I didn't want him to feel like he had to buy me chocolate. If I stayed at the house, and insisted I didn't want anything, he wouldn't worry about it.
He was right to look at me like I was crazy, this isn't the normal thinking of a 6-year-old!
Most 6-year-olds go to sleep thinking about candy. Wake up thinking about candy. Find ways to make their parents and their friends' parents give them candy. Beat up other kids for candy.
They'll use guilt. Puppy-dog eyes. Whining. Crying. Screaming. I bet some of them even resort to murder.
Anything for candy!
It's not like I have any deep-seated trauma connected to receiving gifts.
It's not like I had a pervy uncle that said, 'Kyna, would you like some candy? It's in my front pocket, you'll have to come and get it. Oh, that's weird, how'd that hole get there?...'
Or did I???
Speaking of weird compulsions, why do I have the urge to emphasize everything with Mike Myers characters?
Anyway, I was always told to simply be polite.
You might think, 'Oh, that's just a Canadian thing,'...
...but it's not. I promise I know of many rude Canadians. Many, many, many rude Canadians.
Okay, there are three. But I take being polite too far.
If I feel like I don't have something to trade for something I'm given....whether it's money, or just reciprocating the gift, I feel weird and uncomfortable.
The other day, a co-worker friend brought me a Bojangles chicken biscuit for breakfast as a surprise. I was delighted (and hungry).
If you live anywhere other than the Southeastern US, you wouldn't know how delicious a chicken biscuit from Bojangles is. Slap some mayo and hot sauce on that motherfucker, and I'm in heaven.
It's the breakfast of the gods!
Fat gods, but gods nonetheless.
She did it to be nice. I know she didn't want me to pay her back for it. But I since I didn't have any cash on me, I offered her my proverbial first-born child.
Someone lends me a dollar for a Coke from the vending machine? All I can think about is getting my hands on another dollar to pay them back at the soonest possible juncture.
I go to someone's house, and they ask me if I'm hungry or thirsty? I could be dehydrating or emaciating before their very eyes and I'd still say, 'No. I'm fine!' with a smile.
What the hell is wrong with me?
This is why I could never be a gold digger.
I have a hard time accepting gifts from my own husband.
Last week, we were out at the local hardware store/garden center. We were there to buy a new mailbox, because once again, we had ours bashed by middle-of-the-night, redneck hooligans.
We were walking past a crate full of large bags of tulip and daffodil bulbs. I stopped to look at them, because it was almost time for me to pick some up for planting.
"Do you want me to buy you some daffodils?" asked Chuck.
"Nah, it's ok," I said.
'But I know you want some."
"Yeaaaah, but I'll wait till payday."
"It'll make you happy. Let me buy you some. I know you want them."
Then he got that look on his face, the one that says, "GODDAMMIT, JUST LET ME BUY YOU SOME FUCKING DAFFODIL BULBS BECAUSE I LIKE MAKING YOU HAPPY."
So I let him buy me the fucking daffodil bulbs.
Can you imagine if he was rich? "Kyna, JUST LET ME BUY YOU THE FUCKING YACHT."
That's why I married blue-collar, I couldn't stand the gift-giving pressure of being married to a rich dude.
Chuck has no problem with getting gifts. Plus he has a talent. He can always barter his drywall services for any major gift. Everyone has some sort of drywall problem they need fixed.
The only talent I have is a service that I'm not allowed to barter.
You saw through my innuendo.
So we've established that I have a hard time receiving gifts, right?
In my head, it's polite to worry about someone going to trouble and expense for me to be happy.
What brought this post on?
I have a few friends that know that Chuckles and I eat, sleep, and shit music, and they'll send us CDs from time to time.
Yesterday, one of them asked me if I wanted him to send me some recordings.
Of course I was delighted, and really wanted them!
I did say yes, but made sure I offered compensation for time, supplies and postage. He said he had some other stuff I might like, and did I want that too? (I'm being vague here to protect the identity of the person, but it's sounding like he offered me sex or something, doesn't it?)
I didn't want him to go to more trouble and time and expense, so I said if he wanted to send me some surprises, I'd pay for that too.
I think I insult [or at the very least, confuse] people when I do this, but I don't mean to.
I don't mean to imply that they can't afford it, or that I don't appreciate the friendly gesture out of the goodness of their hearts, I just like to offer something back.
If I feel like I don't have a fair trade, money is the only thing I can offer (other than the aforementioned forbidden services).
I'm 30 years old, dammit. Not 6. I really need to practice saying yes to gifts.
I vow that the next time someone offers me something, I'm going to say yes. Yes to everything!
Even if I have nothing to offer in return! I promise.
Please, God...I hope it's a diamond-studded toilet.