I have reached an age and a station where there’s not that much on my radar as presents go. I’m pushing forty (dragging thirty! DRAGGING THIRTY!) and I don’t have any kids, and the things I want most in the world aren’t really things I can have – or at the very least, they’re not things that I can stick on an Amazon wish list. (I suppose if I had ridiculous 9-figure money, I could buy myself a Vanderbilt ride to the Sugar Bowl, but things like a do-over on undergrad or a sudden onset of sanity in the old country aren’t on offer.)
So what’s left? This is an even more pronounced issue with a big birthday coming up sooner than later, but it’s not like I can even decide what I want to do to “celebrate” the great odometer rollover (although the series of blog posts is already in pre-production, don’t think it isn’t). The real issue is that, you know, I’ve got a little money and I’m doing all right. So anything under thirty dollars is probably something I’ve already bought myself, and the kinds of things I’d like to save up for are too costly for a present to make that much difference on – I mean, a night out at Bourbon and Branch is easily funded as a gift, but two weeks walking the Cotswold Way, not so much.
Right now, the things of foolishness currently occupying my list mostly revolve around the new Brooks Brothers line of Vanderbilt apparel. I need a new dress shirt in the worst way, and since BB makes some of the best out there, one or two with the school logo on the cuff wouldn’t be the worst thing to get by a long shot. I hear they also do a very nice Vandy polo shirt, complete with black-on-black logo so it doesn’t look quite so prep-tastic. (If I had a truly ridiculous sum of money to hand, I wouldn’t mind overhauling my entire wardrobe with a nice selection of bespoke and tailored things of the sort that scream “Vandy lifestyle” – but if I had that kind of money, it wouldn’t be a problem.)
There’s a watch on the list – I know, I know, but this one is an automatic self-winding number from a small purveyor of government contracted goods, and it’s completely without logo or branding of any kind. Basically, I could wear it for the next forty years without ever buying a battery – and there’s something about owning a completely mechanical, completely unbranded, completely superfluous accessory that would last the rest of my life…I don’t know, but there’s an appeal there to something in the kind of character I’d like to be.
As superfluities go, for that matter, there’s always the new waterproof Palladiums – which might just make a viable alternative to the endless parade of DMs I’ve worn for over a decade. Not that I want to get away from my Docs, but something else might make a nice change of pace, and the ultralights I bought earlier this year were the perfect summer footwear all season. Again, something about the “urban explorer” vibe of the revived Palladium pings something in the back of my head about what I’d like to be doing; this is where you go to Wikipedia and look up the word “flaneur”. I guess this is where the Carharrt donkey coat, or the SeV outback jacket that holds an iPad, would come into play…
And that’s where things really trip up. Because at the moment, there’s no telling when I’ll end up reworking my laptop situation at the office, let alone my cell phone situation. And at some point, I may wind up having to purchase a portable computing solution of some sort, and right now everything is on hold until we see how viable the Kindle Fire is. But I’m not fooling myself that I could blog on it, even assuming I wanted to…for that matter, I’ve not attempted Anchor of Gold blogging through the web interface on a non-laptop portable. And above all, I don’t know what the shelf life of the modern tablet is, and I’m not persuaded it matches the three years minimum I expect of a laptop (and let’s be honest, probably more if I have to front the cost myself…and how long can we expect a MacBook Air to be viable? Not three years I bet).
Hell, maybe everyone should just give me money and then enjoy the spectacle of me fretting about what unnecessary thing I should blow it on. At least there’s entertainment value in that. After all, I just churned out 800 words on what may be the Platonic ideal of first world problems – the comic potential of me agonizing over a gift card for six months is bound to pass some of the time, right?