One of my siblings gave Blowfish an online Williams Sonoma gift certificate for his birthday last month. It has changed the man. Maybe forever. Blowfish does not "shop" unless you count going to Concours D' Elegance car shows. He has lived a life where what he needs magically appears with no effort on his part. He does fuel his own truck and will go to the grocers or stop in at a bakery or florist shop to bring home the apologies but that's about it. Until the transmission of his online gift certificate he had never, ever shopped online. In fact the old fish had no idea what to do with such a gift.
One morning he was wandering around restless and grumbling until he eventually ended up in my studio.
" Can you help me with something?"
Over the years I have learned to not just automatically agree to these seemingly innocuous requests.
" Probably. What is your issue?"
" I don't know how to use the Williams Sonoma gift certificate. Do I print it out and go to a store?"
" I think you can use these in an actual store. There isn't one here but there is one in BigCity. If you want to go we can certainly do that. However, if you want to preview your options you can shop online."
" How do I do that?'
And thus was Pandora's Box opened.
It is photographically beautiful. Especially the food pictures which,
trust me, speak to the foodie of our household. There are beautiful
screen layouts, beautiful graphics, great typographic choices and there is even a section on Chefs with interviews and recipes. And there are books. Very beautiful cook books. The man drools.
For weeks now I have been summoned to his office to once again have a look and extended conversation about his latest "find" on the website. This is the old mans version of the young mans wishbook from Sears.
Like so many of his generation he spent hours perusing the pages and thinking a million "what ifs". Now he has discovered he can not just "wish" but actually "shop" without ever leaving his executive leather womb.
My sister has no idea what she has given this man. Or me.
While my fanny was still hovering just above my drafting chair the call came out,
" Fishy! You have got to see this!"
" Come on down here!"
I stomped over to the stair landing knowing he would be at the bottom landing eagerly awaiting my appearance so he could shepherd me off to see his latest find. I love that he still has enthusiasm for life and experiences but his timing could use some prudence.
" Blowfish, there are things I need to get done now. How about I come and look at all your choices later?"
" Okay. We can do that. But right now I need you to come downstairs and look at this find!"
DramaFish clutched his chest and began buckling at the knees to illustrate his discontent with my response.
"Blowfish, please, no drama. I will be down later and you can show me then. Okay?"
Grinning he said, " This will only take a minute and you probably need a break."
I definitely needed a break.
As I came through the door of his office there on the screen was a beautiful photograph of cookware. Ruffoni copper cookware with the cast ornamental knobs on the lids. I turned to look at that fool of a man I married and there he was looking all puffed out and proud. "Blowfish. This is like going to the Concours where I assure you we cannot afford the hood ornaments never mind the automobiles. Ruffoni is fabulous cookware but if we brought home even one piece of that you would want a new dual fuel stove and a complete appliance change out and a Kitchen remodel. Could you please just try to be rational ?"
" It is not all that expensive".
" Right. So you did not notice it cost more than the Bastille!"
" Well then will you please help me make a selection? I seem to be unable to choose."
" Start with what you might actually need, not want."
" Oh good idea! I have been missing waffles since you declared the old waffle iron a health hazard. Maybe they have some good choices." While he sat down to his giant I-Seek screen, I slipped back upstairs hoping he would be so busy studying every word and every image about every waffle iron known to mankind ...I could actually get back to my studio and produce something creative.
No such luck.
" Fishy! Come have a look at this!"
As I again went down stairs I thought about the sister who gave Blowfish this gift.
As little girls we would sit together on our Mama's Chippendale sofa sharing a magazine where we would pick our favorite thing on every page. Hours of our lives were spent on this past time. Sometimes we were companionable, sharing our thoughts and expectations of a life in the making. Other times we generated nothing but friction as our diverse interests began to be expressed. I am ashamed to tell you how old I was before realizing the life I picked on the magazine pages was never to be.
As I once again entered his office Blowfish said,
"This is it!"