While being completely organized has never been one of my strong points, I have yet to forget my girlfriend Kristin’s birthday. One reason for my impressive track record in this area is the fact that we have only been dating for a year and a half. The other, and by far more relevant factor is the consistent effort on Kristin’s part to make sure I remember. After twenty-three casual verbal reminders, three email messages, and one formal printed birthday “wish list,” Kristin did everything humanly possible to ensure that May 27, 1976 was a day not to be forgotten. And don’t even get me started on the “Countdown to My Birthday” lighted, animated marquee sign she constructed (at, I’m sure, considerable expense) in the living room.
Last year I made Kristin a website that anyone in the Internet-free world can go visit at Krisser.com. The site contains a collection of her writing along with various photographs of places she has visited over the years. While the website probably isn’t going to cure cancer or get any new Democrats elected to congress in 2004, it’s a fun place to poke around from time to time. Kristin really enjoys having her own website, despite the constant disagreement with the web design team (that would be me) about the image on the main page showing her in a moderately low-cut t-shirt. But, she does admit that it is better than a picture of me showing too much cleavage.
This year I decided to take a less traditional approach to Kristin’s birthday. While I could have simply gotten her something off her birthday list, I wanted to surprise her with something else. As I drove to the local Wal-Mart I used a highly specialized process of meditation specifically designed to make me think like Kristin. When I arrived at the store I was a five-foot-two, red-headed, nine-fingered woman. Fortunately, nobody else in the store was aware of my transformation.
After about twenty minutes of shopping, I decided on a set of steak knives, and a headset for her cell phone. As I was heading towards the checkout area, a motorized bubble making machine caught my eye. Not literally, thankfully. It basically consists of a series of plastic loops that get immersed in bubble solution and then move in front of a small fan. It looked like fun and was consistent with my birthday shopping mission. I picked it up, paid for everything, and went home to wrap Kristin’s presents.
I swear I didn’t know it at the time, but one of these seemingly innocent gifts might very well be [NOTE TO READER: prepare for sudden topic change.] TURNING MY GIRLFRIEND INTO AN ECSTACY ADDICT!
A few days after Kristin’s birthday, I saw an anti-drug advertisement on the television. It turns out that blowing soap bubbles is a common activity for people high on ecstasy, also known on the street as “E.” Or is it “X”? Well, the word ecstasy doesn’t even contain the letter X, so now I’m not quite sure. And why do the letters “CS” make an “X” sound?
Putting my annoyances of the English language aside for the moment, the commercial displayed half a dozen other types of ecstasy paraphernalia. After letting the facts digest for a few moments, I called Kristin at her office to address the issue. Here is the gist of the conversation:
Her: Thank you for calling, how may I help you?
Me: The game is over, Madame Lovejoy. I know you are hopped up on E!
Her: Huh? Is that you, Omar? This is Tiffany. Do you want me to get Kristin for you?
Me: Oops, um, yeah. Thanks.
Kristin: What’s up? I was in the back room catching up on some filing.
Me: So are you an ecstasy addict?
Kristin: Uh, no. Why would you think something like that?
Me: I found out people who get high on it like soap bubbles—and you have a soap bubble machine.
Kristin: Well, honey, you bought it for me as a birthday present. It wasn’t even on my wish list.
Me: STOP TRYING TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT! And what about those angel wings? That is another sign.
Kristin: I don’t own any angel wings. Maybe you are the one on drugs here, Omar.
Me: What, are you going to pretend I don’t spend time carefully examining every image of that Victoria’s Secret catalog you get every few weeks? Every issue has women in various states of undress wearing angel wings.
Kristin: You are driving me nuts.
Me: And the television commercial told me that small stuffed animals are another sign. You can’t deny that you have a large basket of them on the living room floor.
Kristin: HELLO! Those are for the dog. You love watching her play with all the squeaky toys.
Me: Things are worse than I thought. Now you are giving your dog drugs? Have you no sense of right and wrong?
Me: Hello? I can’t hear you. Must be some problem with the phone line…
Well, that phone call didn’t seem to resolve anything. Kristin is still denying being an ecstasy junkie, and this whole episode has put a bit of a strain on our relationship. While I’m not really sure if I learned anything here, I have decided that next year I’m going to just pick something from Kristin’s birthday wish list. And I might even consider buying her one of those silly, girly DVDs she is always talking about starring some silly, girly actor like Hugh Grant and/or Colin Firth. If that isn’t a sign of true love, I’m not sure what is.