December 24, 2005

Tales from a Suburban Bank: Christmas Special

[The following is a true story. The names have been slightly modified to protect the nonsensical.]

My coworkers decided they wanted to do a Secret Santa gift exchange this year. Not exactly my cup of tea, but never one to rock the boat, I went along with it.

I drew Anna’s name. She’s an alcoholic, so I decided to get her some booze. That was easy enough, but unbeknownst to me, all was not well with my colleagues. You see, David had drawn Britney’s name, and David, I’m sad to say, hates Britney. Hates her with the same fervor held by Yahweh before he incinerated the Sodomites. In fact, he hates her so much that he decided he wasn’t going to get her a gift. Not even a cheap one. He wasn’t going to get her anything at all.

Well, a couple days before we exchanged gifts, Vicky, who is best friends with Britney, learned of David’s plan. She proceeded to read him the Riot Act, telling him how thoughtless he was being, how much he would hurt Britney’s feelings. David just laughed. Maliciously, I might add.

Vicky then came to me and started to read me the Riot Act. Told me pretty much the same thing she told David. Which didn’t make much sense given that I wasn’t Britney’s Secret Santa. Anyway, I finally managed to get a word in and told Vicky that I agreed, that David clearly needed to buy a gift. "Then you need to talk to him," she responded and I, being the good sport that I am, agreed to do so.

So I asked David what he was planning on getting Britney. He laughed. Rather maliciously, I might add. I stressed how hurt Britney would be if he didn’t get her something. Another laugh. Still malicious.

So I went back to Vicky. "Is he getting her something?" she asked. "I think so." "How sure are you?" "Pretty sure." She again stressed the egregious nature of David’s plan, again implied that I was somehow responsible for it. So I told her that I’d swing by Starbucks and pick up a couple gift cards. If David didn’t get Britney anything, then I’d throw the cards in the pile of gifts.

At first, I didn’t think that David would really fail to buy something for Britney. But the more I thought about it, the more unsure I became. So then following day I decided to again talk to David. When he continued to maintain that he wasn’t getting Britney a present, I gave him the gift cards and asked that he just give her the cards and, if he wanted, give me money for them the next day. He nodded. Quite maliciously, I should add. And that was that.

The next day came. We all got to work early to give our gifts. I gave Anna the booze. Various lotions and candles and gaudy t-shirts were exchanged. It was finally David’s turn. Not sure that he was going to give Britney the gift cards, I held my breath. But he came through. He took out the cards, handed them to Britney, and forced himself to wish her Merry Christmas. She took the cards and thanked him, rather snottily, it seemed.

Later in the day, Britney came up to me. "Don," she said, "I just want to say, I know that you got me the gift cards and I wanna say thank you. That really means a lot." "You’re welcome," I said, not sure how she knew. "Y’know," she continued, "David’s just so immature, but I’m not gonna let it ruin my day, y’know?"

Ten minutes later, Britney again came up to me. "Don’t take this the wrong way," she said, handing me the gift cards, "but I want you to have these." "But I don’t even drink coffee." "But I don’t want them! It just makes me so mad that he did that! I just can’t believe someone would stoop so low and not even get someone else a Secret Santa gift!" We went back and forth and I finally made her take back the cards.

A little later, David came up and asked me how Britney knew I bought the gift cards. "I don’t know," I said, "I guess Vicky must’ve told her." "She’s really pissed at me, man. Y'know, it’s kinda making me feel bad about the stuff I got."

A little while after that, I overheard Vicky and David arguing. David’s argument: I was just joking when I said I wasn’t gonna get Britney anything; I was gonna get her something; what’s it matter if I bought her gift from Don? Vicky’s response: You lying bastard!

After their fight had concluded, David came up to me and asked what he should do. I told him that he should go and apologize to Britney. "I didn’t do anything wrong, man." "It doesn’t matter. It's just...well, her feelings are hurt. Just tell her you’re sorry her feelings are hurt." "I’m not apologizing to her. She’s such a bitch, y'know?"

Next thing I knew, David and Britney had locked themselves in the back room, alone. The rest of looked at one another and breathed a sigh of relief, happy that they were finally working through their problems. About twenty minutes passed and they were still back there. Vicky and I then ventured to go up to the door, where we heard Britney yelling, something about David being a jerk and not caring about people’s feelings.

After a while, they came back out. And didn’t say anything to one another for the rest of the day.

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