by J. A. Buxton
Why do people act this way? I still don't understand why she was behaved like that.
Write about the White Elephant you receive at your next party.
I've never received a gift I didn't like, simply because I knew the person who gave it spent time picking it out. Even the plum pudding I received two years in a row from my younger sister had me smiling at her in appreciation. For that reason, I can't write about the White Elephant I received, so I hope this about one I gave will do instead. I can still remember the unexpected reaction to a gift I gave decades ago to a woman I worked with at the Bank of America in San Francisco, CA.
For the previous year's Christmas gift I wanted to give to my older sister, I spent a long time at the local Cost Plus store picking out delicacies from around the world. There were chocolates from Belgium and items from China, England, and many other foreign countries. Once I brought the large bag of goodies home, I happily spent the next couple hours wrapping each individual item and putting them in a box. After that I covered the big box in brown paper, stuck on address labels, and finally lugged the heavy Christmas gift to the post office.
I couldn't stop smiling for days after I received a "Thank You" letter from Jan in which she told me how much she loved her gift. She even mentioned which of the exotic foods she liked the best, so I knew she wasn't just being kind and fibbing to me.
So, when Christmas came around the next year, I knew exactly what gift I wanted to give at work for our annual gift swap. We were limited to spending a certain amount, so I had to scale back how many delicacies from Cost Plus I could buy. This didn't stop me, though, from wrapping each item in pretty paper and then putting all the items in a red Christmas bag.
With the luck of the draw for the person who would get our gift, mine was a young black woman. All year she and a group of her friends had made life uncomfortable for the other woman in the large bank's data processing department. I never understood why they acted like they did, but I had high hopes my gift would somehow make this particular woman begin to at least like me a bit. I mean, in my 30s back then, I was really a nice person.
The time for exchanging our gifts came, and I slowly walked over to the young woman and, with a smile, handed her the Christmas bag with all the smaller items inside. As she unwrapped the first small item, I stood there silently waiting for her to say something about this special gift I'd put together for her. She said nothing and just unwrapped two more of the imported food items.
Finally, she carelessly tossed the three items back into the bag and turned to me. Instead of a polite "Thank you", she gave me an angry look and dropped the bag to the floor in front of where I was standing.
As she walked away, I was shocked and rather hurt to hear her say, "What kind of gift is this? I can buy my own food."
Microsoft Word count = 540
"The Writer's Cramp" daily entry for 12/22/2013