I'm not much of a consumer, and that's probably an understatement. I love fine quality things, especially clothing and accessories, and I buy well, but very sparingly. A friend who helped me pack in preparation for my move to this house was taken aback by the emptiness of my closet. I just don't lust after material goods. It's quite rare that an item of apparel sets my heart aflutter. Before Ivaan became part of my daily existence, it was even rarer. In late 1991, I had a fleeting passionate relationship with a pair of highly improbable shoes in a high-end shoe shop. First of all, they were very expensive. Even on sale (which they were), they were about a week's salary. Second, they were size 7 - at least half a size too small. Third, I'd have looked idiotic riding my motorcycle wearing them. Fourth, they conjured up dyed blond curly hair with about an inch of dark roots showing, a cigarette in a cigarette holder, a stiff drink and a negligee. Frankly, the only thing I sleep in is my bed, which is probably more than you needed to know. But the shoes were red patent leather, with scalloped edges, lined in gold leather, and they were, admittedly, beautifully made. They were a minor work of art, actually, and leaving them in the store felt like abandoning them to an uncertain fate.
By December of 1991, Ivaan and I were living together, but things could easily have gone either way. One thing that puzzled him about me was my lack of interest in the trappings of domesticity. The women in his family delighted in a well-equipped kitchen, the more dishes and appliances the better. Me? I had a kettle. One evening, he asked, "What would you like me to get you for Christmas?" I reminded him that Christmas wasn't a huge part of my social calendar, and I couldn't really think of anything I wanted or needed. I suggested if he wanted to buy me something, he might make it a practical item. He suggested a coffee pot, since my habit of making coffee by putting a filter cone on top of a mason jar always seemed a bit like camping to him. I readily agreed that a coffee pot would be a practical gift, and I was glad to have the problem solved so expediently.
On Christmas Day, I wasn't surprised to find myself tearing the wrapping paper off a cardboard box bearing a photo of a nice-looking coffee pot. Reaching inside the box, however, I was surprised to find that his gift was not in fact a coffee pot, but.......
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