Oh bless your heart, Doris. You are trying. You are trying and I have to acknowledge that.
Primo: My mom sent you a package.
Maybe it is the Julia Child cookbook I read every time I am at their house and have been coveting, to the point where I asked Doris – discreetly, I thought – if she had ever cooked from it and if so, did she recommend it because it looked like a really good cookbook.
Oh no, she answered dismissively. She didn’t look at cookbooks anymore.
Me: It looks like a really, good useful cookbook! I really like it!
Take the hint, Doris! All I want is for you to give me this cookbook or something like it.
OK. What I really want is an end to the gift giving because this is a crazy arms race where Primo spends a lot of money on them and they give him (and me) crap we don’t want and can’t return. Yes, I know it is not my money, but we are going to be married and we will be combining finances eventually.
And I know it is rude to be ungrateful for a gift and to express a preference for something else. My mom did raise me better than that. I feel guilty for complaining about gifts. It’s a gift! An item freely given as an expression of affection.
But – Doris does not give Primo presents he wants. I don’t expect her to get it right with me. She doesn’t know me and she does not even have to give me presents. But she never gets it right with Primo, even though he has told her what he would like (because she has asked him) and then she still doesn’t get him what he wants.
I need to shut up. I am digging a hole deeper and deeper and I am looking worse with every word.
It is a book-sized and a book-weight package. But it isn’t even Christmas. Maybe it is a Just Because present.
I open it carefully, not wanting to rip Julia’s pages.
It contains not the Julia Child The Way To Cook cookbook but
· The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I read years ago and really liked
· A 30 year old guide to opals, a precious stone Doris and I have never discussed. The only conversation we have ever had about jewelry was about her mother’s wedding ring.
· A gardening book about gardening in tropical climates, which is not the climate in which Primo and I live
· Three mail-order gardening catalogs
Just used books. And mail-order catalogues.
I put the books in my library stack so I can donate them the next time I go, toss the catalogues, and debate what to write in my thank you note.
My thank-you note for used books and catalogs.
OK. End snark. Sending someone books you have read that you like that you want to share with that person so you can have a good experience in common is a nice thing to do. It is a gesture of friendship. OK. Point Doris. Yellow Bitch Card for me.
 There is nothing wrong with used books. Nothing at all. But it is not cheap to mail books. Why not just donate them to your library? And the carbon footprint. Think of the Carbon Footprint!