I’m never good at buying Christmas presents. I always seem to get outdone. Like the year I got my friend a double pass to the movies and then his girlfriend rail roaded me by giving him a baby. It’s not that a Hoyts cinema pass can’t compete with a new born child; it was just the way she did it, all legs akimbo screaming his name. I went for a more a dignified approach having placed his tickets in a carefully chosen Wrongside card which featured the adventures of a dog trying to teach his owner how to roller skate. Classic Sanz. I remember months later he rang me up to say thank you for the present, what given all the chaos of now having a kid he’d plumb forgotten his vouchers until he recovered them while tidying up the coffee table one afternoon.
‘They’ve probably expired.’ I told him ‘or been cancelled by someone who rang the cinema to see if anyone had bothered using them.’
‘I guess it’s the thought that counts. Thanks all the same.’
‘Well we can’t all just show up umbilical cord at the ready, some of us like to put more thought into our presents.’
Last Christmas was no different. Whereas my brother got my parents the gift of him getting engaged, I presented my parents with the gift of a nail file, Michael Chugg’s autobiography, oh and news that my ex-boyfriend was moving into my house after a 5 year estrangement.
In my defence my ex was sleeping in another room, on the ground, but as friends were all too quick to point out ‘how does that differ from last time Lou?’…well played ‘friends’.
So whereas my brother was looking to the future, I’d pretty much stumbled across an old garbage bag of clothes destined for St Vinnie’s, opened it up and gone ‘oh there’s that dress I really like, why don’t I wear it anymore? I should so wear it more; like all the time…oh that’s why I don’t wear it …it has an elasticised waist, but hang on I’ve lost weight so it’ll probably look great…no, it has an elasticised waist, why on earth did I just not burn this dress! Why am I giving it to someone else? No one looks good in an elasticised waist, even the poor! Oh for the love of god, why did I even buy it?…is my life just a landscape of regret littered with mistakes?’
We got on fine. For the most part until he started washing my dishes.
‘Really there’s no need to do the dishes.’
‘But I should, I’m a guest.’
‘I’d really rather you didn’t.’
‘They’re just dishes.’
‘No they’re not just dishes.’
‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’
‘It’s too much like a relationship if I let you wash my dishes.’
‘Is this about the fact I don’t wash your dishes anymore?’
‘I’m just saying I’ve gone 5 years without you washing my dishes and I really don’t think it’s a good idea if you start washing them now.’
‘We’re not talking about dishes now are we…?’
He moved out a week later.