Archives » September 7th, 2003

September 7, 2003


Baby shower today. It was just like Christmas. At least, a Christmas where everybody’s giving and only two people are receiving. Viola was the tree, and she sat in her chair with bags and boxes piled up in a circle around her. We opened them one by one, and with two dozen people there it took a while to get through it all. As it dragged on, you could see the people thinking, “Must. Keep. Smiling. Must pretend to be happy about thirtieth cute little outfit.” The numbers thinned out as we went on, and we’d catch a glimpse of people heading out the door, and yell thanks for coming across the living room. But we couldn’t really rush through it, because every present we picked up belonged to one of those people in the room. And we couldn’t give their gift any less attention than the others, or act any less enthusiastic about it. So each time we opened a box or a bag, we were playing to an audience of one. One person that had been anticipating the moment we open it and discover the surprise, and we couldn’t let them down. And all the other people in the room were divided into two camps: those whose gifts we hadn’t gotten to yet, who were thinking, “Open mine next! Open mine next!” and those whose gifts were long gone, who just wanted it to be over with. Most of the people walking out the door belonged to that latter group.

After the shower we went home, and the mood shifted from Christmas to Halloween. We were suddenly those kids who empty out their haul for the night onto the floor and start to sort through it, going for the good stuff first and feeding the sour candies to the dog. This is where we were really able to say to each other what we thought of the gifts, without an audience and without any feelings to hurt. But you know what? We liked most of what we got. We had baby registries at a couple of stores, which helped. The people could just shop from a list, and be confident that everything listed was something we actually wanted. So we got quite a few things from the list. We also got quite a few pleasant surprises, from the people confident enough to go off the list and buy something risky.

In all, just an ordinary baby shower. And a kid who now has a whole bunch of clothes.