For the record, I have little or no expectation of receiving gifts, pretty much from anyone. When I was a kid, my dad used to go on business trips and bring me back hotel soap. I genuinely appreciated the token of affection, however meager. Today it's not much different: I am genuinely touched when someone thinks of me, even when I don't necessarily understand the thought.
All of this brings me to last week, when I was in New York, and saw my aunt -- who gave me my "birthday present." For those who don't know, my birthday was in the fall, approximately six months ago. And the present? Let's just say that it consisted in part of my grandmother's underwear.
Okay, not exactly underwear. Three half-slips. Probably vintage.
I am certain that this chain of events was the result of my telling her that I needed something of the sort to wear under a sweaterdress. In the winter. And despite the weirdness of it all, it was genuinely quite lovely that my aunt remembered the conversation and then spent the time searching through my grandmother's drawers -- and drawers, ha ha -- to find them for me.
Which then, brings me back to my dad. The other night, I told him about how, thanks to his sister, I was now in possession of his mother's delicates. He didn't think it was quite so funny, and he was perplexed by my reaction.
"It's a good thing you think the whole thing is funny. Personally, I'd be insulted if someone gave me used underwear for my birthday."
"Dad, at least it wasn't real underwear. And besides, I'm just glad she thinks I'm as skinny as Grandma."