For my birthday, this past weekend, I received from my wife the St. Moritz Titan II watch. I say that with the same sort of glee with Ralphie would take in saying each part of “official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.” The watch is beautiful and functional and manly and rugged and sophisticated and light, and everything I hoped it would be. So that’s good.
What surprises me about all of it, and by that I mean the whole process of receiving it, is how much joy it has brought me. Not since I was a child can I remember being this excited about a gift, and I think I know why. Because not since I was a child have I known exactly what I wanted, and then had to wait for it.
I’m not sure how old I was when my parents first started the “reasonable negotiation” method of gift giving. That’s where I would come to them with something I wanted, and we would discuss it, me explaining why it was a “good” purchase and something my parents should support, and them considering and then deciding that either yes, they would, or no they would not purchase the gift. And then it was done. There was no waiting, really. Gifts didn’t come like opportunities around birthday or holiday times. I sort of banked them, for a while, and then they came sporadically when the time was right. The whole thing was very enlightened and progressive, but took a lot of the thrill out of birthdays and holidays.
Most of my toys in modern days have been self purchased, or the product of some negotiation, so there was never the wondering. If I wanted something, I bought it. In this case, though, there was the waiting, the anticipation, the desire, the fulmination of the need (real or imagined) and then the satisfaction. And the result? It is more thrilling to satisfy a need than a whim. That should be obvious, and of course it is, but in this age of consumer frenzy, I had forgotten that joy of waiting.