Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Why I say "gift certificate" when people ask me what I want for Christmas...
In a weak moment, I made the mistake of telling my mother I might want knee socks (to wear with my new Frye boots) for Christmas. As a result, I had the following phone conversation with my sister Katie today:

ME: "Hithisiskelly."

SISTER: "Hey, you know those socks you told mom about? From Old Navy?"


"Are they trouser socks?"

"I don't wear trouser socks."

"They're knee socks?"


"Up to your knee?"

"Yes, that's how I'm defining knee socks."

"We don't carry those." (my sister is a manager at Old Navy).

"I just bought them two weeks ago in Charleston."

"If Hilton Head doesn't have them, none of the stores do. Are they holiday socks?"

"What, like with reindeer on them? Have you ever known me to wear holiday socks?"

"NO BUT PEOPLE CHANGE." (I'm apparently annoying her). "Did you save the receipt?"

"Of course, I have it right here." (silence)

"You do? You do not. F*cking liar. OK, can you just tell me what they're MADE out of?"

"I don't know. Sock material?"

"Clearly, you have NEVER WORKED RETAIL. Because you can't even DESCRIBE CLOTHING. You're like those women who call the store and say, 'um, yeah, I want to order a blue shirt.' I'm all 'long-sleeved or short-sleeved? slim fit or regular'? AND THEY DON'T KNOW."

"Dial it down a few notches, sister-woman. Socks is socks is socks."

"But did you tell mom they were CABLE KNIT? We don't HAVE cable knit AT ALL. What does the top of the sock look like?"

"They're dark gray. Did I already say they come up to my knee?"

"If you're just messing with me, you better tell me because I have a LOT of shopping to do and IMAGINARY SOCKS are NOT ON THE LIST."

"Maybe they're wool?"


I am not making this up. And lest you think it's ME, let me say this conversation followed one with my mother, who called from a department store to ask if I preferred 400-count Egyptian cotton to 800-count Pima cotton. Sheets. Because when I mentioned the socks, I accidentally told her I could use some new white pillowcases because I think our cleaning lady uses mine to transport heavy objects to the trash bin. And she ran with it.

So because I never ask for anything for Christmas, this year I'll probably get 50 pairs of knee socks and a lifetime supply of bed linens. Not that I'm complaining.


  1. My biggest Christmas list mistake came the infamous year I bought the coffee bean grinder.

    I mentioned to my mom that I had a fondness for varietal coffee beans. You know, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Ethiopean Yirgacheffe, even good old Columbian, for Pete's sake.

    This information entered my mom's head as, "Jason likes flavored coffee."

    Jason HATES flavored coffee!!!! Ack! Ack! Pleh! Blech!

    Years passed - YEARS! - before I stopped getting freaking cinammon-roll flavor coffee beans and the like in my stocking.

  2. That is awesome!! Very funny. My family is a lot like that but I'm usually like your sister.

  3. You are SO lucky, sister. Because my mom gets all nuts at Christmas time and distorts everything you tell her. The year I told her I wanted a black winter dress coat, she handmade a silk velvet opera cape lined in white taffeta...which is so handy for those business trips to Kansas. What image does she have of my life that she thought I really needed to make a swirling mysterious entrance into a room in a freaking black cape?

  4. Flavored coffee - love the smell, hate the taste. I echo your blech.

    Jem, I sincerely hope you are wearing that cape. Often. The year before last, my mother translated "pajamas" into silk LEOPARD PRINT Rue McLanahan-looking horror. And she knew good and well that, by "pajamas," I meant t-shirt and flannel pants.

  5. At least you have a mom. Just kidding. But seriously, my mother gets me a sweater decorated with a holiday theme every year and sometimes socks to match. One time, they had bells on them. She is in her 80s now so I can't just shove them under the bed in the guest room like I used to. I put it on and sit there like a fool and just be happy she's still buying me crappy presents.

    thanks for the laugh kiddo.

  6. At least you get presents. Just kidding.


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