A few weeks ago, my friend Bob said he had a present for me. I’d run into he and Jenny at the grocery store and he said, “I wish I had known I was going to see you; I would have brought it.” I probed for hints, but he would give none. “I’ll give it to you later,” he said, “if I don’t throw it away.”
I couldn’t even imagine what he had for me. “So it was just something you saw and thought of me?” I asked. He affirmed this was true.
The next couple of times we saw each other he dropped a few hints. “It took awhile to grow to it’s full size,” he told me.
“Is it ALIVE?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said thoughtfully.
Last night at Suzie and Amber’s there was a present waiting for me that looked like this:
He said, “I hope it’s okay if your birds eat things that are alive once in awhile…” Admittedly I was a little freaked out. There were air holes poked in the box. He’d rigged up a rock on a twisted rubber band to make a skittering sound against the side of the box when I picked it up. He’d put in things to throw me off, like an advertisement for electronic fences for dogs. After pulling back and unwrapping all the layers, I got it open.
Brief back story: For the last couple of years, Bob has been a live-in dog walker for a wealthy family in Pacific Heights. The dog’s name is Happy. (There have been many snickers about this.) The family has a Filipina house-keeper that was very passive-aggressive to Bob. She’d given him presents like frozen English muffins and sandwiches with bites taken out of them. She also regularly left him bizarre notes that were sometimes instructions for what he should do and sometimes reprimands for what he had or hadn’t done. She’d leaved them taped to his door with what appears to be blue painter’s tape. Her English is not so hot.
The present was all the notes that she’d left him for the last three months. Hundreds of them all taped end to end and folded up into one giant mass. When I realized what they were I got a little choked up. It’s the best present anyone has ever given me.
Here are a couple of examples.
The top note says:
Mr Newman instruction:
Take care of the house-
Alarm on even you’re inside
He don’t want get heart attack of bad news. He said this house is so precious to him
You feel the same if you have a house.
The bottom note says:
Ice cream for newman only!
The middle note says:
P/S leave the fench thru garden
Happy eat some flowers and her poo-poo
Bob said, “At first they made me angry. Then when I realized you liked this kind of stuff it made them much easier to take. When I’d get one I’d think, ‘Oh, something else to add to Amie’s present.’”
This is the perfect present for me. It’s hard to make someone understand how three months’ worth of notes written by a cranky Filipina lady about a house and a dog named Happy COULD be a perfect present, but they totally are.