Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Surprise, Honey...

I took out the trash. Scrubbed the skillet. Left you a full pot of hot water when I heard you get up and knew you would be coming down to make your coffee.

I courted her with champagne and flowers. She brings me tulips and little forbidden tarts. She gave me a car for my birthday once, but that was years ago. Now she moves the family car when it’s behind my little two-seater and she knows I’m thinking it might be a good night for us to sit in the Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford with thermoses that look like they are filled with coffee. I wax her red 1970 convertible. Just because I like the way she looks in it, top down, sunglasses. She gets spontaneous marriage proposals from men in SUVs when she drives it. My wax jobs are my bragging rights.
I was listening to Click and Clack on “Car Talk” the other day. They were talking to a woman whose husband had searched high and low for a 1963 Dodge Dart (pushbutton automatic) and surprised her with it. It brought tears to her eyes. One of the Car Talk guys said that was the best gift ever, one that he assumed won her undying gratitude. The other said he had read in “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” (or a book like it) that men think that way---that a big, showy gift is good for many good-dead credits---but that women view each gift as one credit. Take out the trash (which he said brought his wife to tears when he did it), one credit. New car, one credit.

I doubt that, but I do know now that the best gifts are the little, every-day ones. Not best best, but best for keeping love alive. You can’t buy each other new cars every day. Or even flowers and champagne (although I tried that for almost a year before I landed her). But you can put a dish of apple slices or a cup of tea on her desk while she’s working. You can pat the back of his hand while you’re reading together and say, I think you’re wonderful.

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