Monday, November 7, 2011

I Got Bitten By a Gift Horse Once

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."



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.

That's right.

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.

*crosses fingers*


Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Kyna, that is hilarious, and I challenge any good kind person not to see shades of themselves in this post.

That was me, now I have learned to say "thank you so very much."

Because I realized that some people just are that generous, and they like to do things for me, how very kind. And by my saying no all the time I wasn't allowing them any happiness in sharing.

I just wait for my opportunity, and make sure that I reciprocate back when it's appropriate.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Turling said...

What is next time someone offers you sex? And, it isn't Chuckles? Will you accept???? Well, will you??????????

Kyna said...

Jen: Glad to know I'm not alone. It's just really gotten to be a problem. I hate making people feel uncomfortable, just because I feel uncomfortable.

Turling: Are you offering???????

I may have some Hotspurs tickets in it for you.

Dammit, there I go again! I have to learn to just accept the gift, without giving one in return.

I'll take the sex from you, and keep the tickets for myself. I know that you'd just be offering out of the goodness of your heart.

Right? :)

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

My Dad was the same way. Hated to inconvenience anyone. I rememember when he was dying I gave him a bell to ring if he had to get out of bed to have a smoke and he thought he would not inconvenience me but prefered to fall instead. I gave him such shit. Did I feel bad? NO. I got him a bell for that reason. I can't believe you don't use your cute to get things or at least you feel bad about it. That is such a Ukrainian girl thing to do. My Baba would have liked you. Not like those girls who had been 'there and back'.

I love your stories. I blog such drivel and your posts are events.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

That Mike Myers clip is a classic. Him calling Nicole Kidman 'the devil' for giving him chocolate and the runs down the street like a maniac pulling the monkey bars behind him.

Liz said...

Hi Kyna,

I think we all do this from time to time; I know I'll often decline drinks or food even if I'm gasping just because I don't want to put someone out.

My boyfriend is like you and he does my fkin nut in (strange, english saying for you). It's like I'm offering you the damn present/sweet/chocolate/whatever so take it. If I didn't want to give it you then I wouldn't offer!!! Grrrrr. lol.

As for the Chicken biscuit.. That confused me a bit, as biscuits here are I guess what you call cookies... So I was imagining a chicken flavoured cookie and almost barfing on the sofa. If you hadn't shown a photo I probably would still be spewing everywhere.

Kyna said...

Cal: Use my cute? I don't remember what that's like...

I'd like to say my Baba would've liked you too, but she probably would've smacked your hand with a wooden spoon.

Oh wait, that IS love in Babaland, isn't it? LOL :D

Liz: Definitely not a chicken cookie O_O

Although I have seen bacon cookies before...

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Did your Baba love Lawrence Welk and Wrestling too...and chase the cousins around the house for eating the raw perogies?

Kyna said...

You know, I'd completely forgotten about the joy of eating raw perogies until you said that. :D

I only remember seeing my Baba a handful of times before she died.

These are things I rememeber:

-My Baba was 4'11"
-She made awesome Easter Bread
-She hit my cousin Justin once with a wooden spoon on the back of his hand while I was visiting, which freaked me out because my Mum didn't believe in hitting kids
-She wore wigs occasionally

My mum could tell you a lot more about my Baba, as could my brothers I'm sure. They got to see a lot more of her than I did. I was so young when my Baba and Gido died, within 6 months of each other.

Alison said...

Great post, I wish I had a diamond-studded toilet to offer you, just to see what you'd say. I have the same tendency to say no to people who offer things, which is kind of weird, because I also have the tendency to offer people things like diamond-studded toilets, with no strings attached. Actually, truly, I have a bit of a compulsion to be generous.

Gary said...

Is this post just reverse psychology to actually get folks to sends you pressies? :)

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Kyna girl how can you make me blush and nod my head this early in the morning ?
I really do think that Canadians have this encoded in their genetic profile .. we just can't help being over the top polite and wanting to melt into the crowd ? Although I think that part is a wee bit difficult to believe about YOU girl ! haha
Ah .. the perogies !! 'nuff said?
One day I am going to stop saying excuse me, when some one bumps into ME !!
I swear I am going to STOP that !! One Day !!!!
Joy .. turning down chocolate is such a strange concept to me but it does happen .. once in a blue moon .. and I do mean moon !!!!!
Joy ;-)

Kyna said...

Alison: Me too! I love to give gifts, and I never expect anything in return. You'd think I'd be more accepting with getting gifts lol.

Gary: Haha! I was wondering if someone would say that.

You saw right through me ;)

Joy: Blush? With balloon animals? :)

And I didn't say I turned chocolate down NOWadays. :)

ChickenFreak said...

My mother is uncomfortable accepting anything from anyone, too. Her strategy for feeling better is the dark evil mirror-opposite of yours: She accepts whatever it is, and then she twists the facts to make it seem like _she's_ done the other person a favor.

Example: "I'm so _glaaad_ that I could keep you company at this expensive dinner that you're paying for. It's so lonely to eat alone, isn't it? No, need to thank me; I'm a giver."

OK, that exact scenario isn't one of hers, but you see, right? She's not even content with reversing to the point that the gratitude balance is 50/50; she needs to drive it until the other person owes _her_ for the honor of doing her a favor.

So I, for one, find your attitude beyond refreshing. :) But, yes, you should still learn to say yes.

Kooky Girl said...

This is very interesting. Basically you have to say 'Yes', say 'Yes' to everything that is offered, the person is offering because they want you to have it. It makes them feel good as well as you. Now the moralistic bit, remember you don't have to pay that actual person back. When the time comes, and it will at some point, you offer up a service or an item to someone else. For example, my CC came home in a very nice jacket donated to her by her friend's mom. It had belonged to the older daughter but didn't fit any more. 'Thank you very much' texted I. Later, when I was going through some of my CC's clothes I offered them to a friend of mine with a younger girls. She gratefully received them - the kids loved the clothes. And so the wheel of good karma turns. So, remember, take now knowing you can pay back later - guilt free!