Presents, like any other venereal diseases, are shared between people who broach a border of familiarity. The closer the bond, the grander the thought or price tag behind the gift. Socially, when not cared for, it's akin to dry drowning.
"I'll rifle through their trash" you think, knowing that if the law does not need a search warrant to be knee-deep in curb refuse, you don't either. And the shells of waste and things they've had in their home is one vector to knowing who they are. Of course, the other is to actually get to know them, but we can't all dress up in rutilant and sequins when we're finding ideas for a present.
But what do you get someone in the first case? "A ride-along with the Stern Gang," you say. "How thoughtful." No, nothing like that. The phrase is usually, "Oh, she's really into Biker Mice from Mars. Get her something from that."
Something they like. Something in tune with who they are, or what they've presented to the world behind the mask. Not something out of their wheelhouse (even if they're not in a wheelchair) where they might be stepping into waters unknown.
You buy them something that makes you feel comfortable in the reaction to who they are. If a friend or colleague is into a particular something, a TV show, universe or brand, you're going to hunt well within those boundaries because you've decided long ago that that helps you maintain that status quo. That this is who they are. This is who they'll ever be. Now, we just need to buy them something from their collection with glitter and spit.
When you look into it, the thought behind most gifts and presents is that you'll never change and this path you've led will continue where the tracks have already been laid. Same as it ever was.
Written on Friday, 17 April 2015