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迟到的生日礼物 (A Belated Birthday Present)

迟到的生日礼物

 

中午,  UPS送来一个纸盒,伍月打开一看,是丈夫送她的生日礼物,一部索尼照相机。 其实伍月的生日过去快半年了, 要说是生日礼物, 有些牵强。

 

小时候,伍月家孩子多,有谁过生日,全家跟着沾光,吃一顿肉臊子面就是最大的满足。至于生日礼物,从来没有谁奢望或得到过。

 

母亲偶尔会忘记他们的生日,虽然不无遗憾,但也无可奈何。记得有一次,在她生日的前几天母亲就念叨过几天就是她的生日了,可是生日过后多日,母亲才猛然想起来忘记给她过生日了。

 

后来她去省城读书,毕业后留在那里工作,就再也无人给她过生日了。生日对于她,只是填在档案里的一组数字, 毫无特殊意义, 所以她很少能想起这个日子。再者,按照家乡的老规矩, 生日是按阴历日期算的,伍月填表时用的也是阴历。直到后来找到阴历阳历对照表,她才知道自己的阳历出生日。

 

来到美国,伍月才发现生日对于西方人来说是个重要的日子。在那天, 每个过生日的人几乎都能得到一个礼物。

 

结婚后,先生每年都要送她一件生日礼物,并带她出去吃饭庆祝。 她的任何愿望, 只要不是上天摘星星之类的苛求, 他都会尽量满足。

 

按照西方习惯,过生日的人那天享有特权,自然不必亲自下厨烹饪。刚开始,伍月觉得新鲜,任凭先生安排,尽情享受自己的特权。渐渐地,她觉得先生买给她的礼物,一点也不经济实惠,简直是一种浪费;而且餐馆的饭菜也大多不合她的口味,于是开始抱怨。后来发展到生日那天拒绝出去吃饭,在家里自己下厨做些可口的饭菜。先生觉得不可思议,但还是尊重她的选择。

 

久而久之, 先生不再送惊喜礼物给她,不过在生日那天早晨, 睁开眼依然会在枕边看到一张生日卡

 

伍月又埋怨说,卡上那些祝愿的话都是现成的, 没有多大意义。

 

生日卡也不见了,倒是在她生日前后,先生会于周末开车一个多小时带她去一家中国餐馆吃早茶,以示庆祝。

 

每年她的生日临近时, 先生都会问她买什么礼物送她比较合适? 通常, 伍月都会说好像没什么想要的iPad刚时兴那会儿,他要买一个送她作为生日礼物,她却说,我又不是小孩子,整天拿着个iPad 玩游戏。后来伍月的弟弟和弟媳来美国旅游,临走时悄悄出去买了个64GB的 iPadII硬是送给她,  并为她装了些游戏。其中包括僵尸愤怒的鸟, 伍月一玩就上瘾了, 从此对iPad 爱不释手。

 

今年, 先生打算送她一部新相机作为生日礼物。他在网上选中即将面世的索尼Alpha 6000 相机。不料产品推迟发行,要到伍月生日后才能上市。那时恰好他们要去国外,就推迟了购买计划。

 

产品上市后不久,厂商降价50美元促销,伍月犹豫不决,想等等再看。

 

等她决定购买时,相机的价格又回升到原价,先生见她又在迟疑, 便安慰说, 要不再等等看? 反正你也不急着用。

 

这一等,就是半年。

 

虽说这礼物姗姗来迟,伍月还是满意的。满意之余,一种淡淡的失落涌上心头。她突然觉得这没有丝毫惊喜的生日礼物, 不能算是专门买给她的......

 

俗话说, “You can't have your cake and eat it too.”

 

伍月开始懂得她不可能二者兼得…..


December 29, 2014 in WA


A Belated birthday present


At noon,  UPS  delivered a carton. May opened it and saw a Sony camera.  She knew it was a birthday present from her husband. As a matter of fact, May's birthday had passed by almost half a year.  Calling it a birthday gift was something of a stretch.


May was from a large family with several siblings.  A birthday celebrated with a meal of precious wheat noodle and meat sauce was a great treat for everyone in the family.  A birthday present? it was something one had neither dreamed of nor received.


Occasionally, May's mother might forget someone's birthday, she could do nothing about it,  but not without any regret and guilt.  May still remembered one of her birthdays had been completely forgotten by her mother.  May’s mother mentioned her upcoming birthday a few days before the date.  It was not until several days after it passed that her mother suddenly realized that there had been no birthday celebration.


Later, May went to the provincial capital to study and accepted a job after graduation. Having no family or friends over there, nobody cared about her birthday.  Birthdays meant nothing to her but a date in her personal profile.  She rarely thought about it.  Furthermore, according to old customs of her hometown, a birthday was based on the lunar calendar.   When she filled job applications, that date was used as well.   It was not until she found the Gregorian-Lunar Calendar Conversion Table that she knew her birthday in solar terms.


When May came to the United States, she discovered that a birthday was an important day for Westerners.  Almost everyone could get a birthday gift on that occasion.


After she married, her husband would give her a birthday present every year and take her out to dinner to celebrate.   He would try to satisfy any of her desires, if not as demanding as reaching for the stars or the like.


According to Western habits, on one’s birthday, he or she has special privileges and does not need to cook for the family.    At first, it was fresh and new to her.  She would let her husband make all the arrangements and sit back to enjoy the privileges.  Gradually, she felt that the gifts he bought for her were simply a waste - neither economical nor practical.   Restaurant meals were often not to her taste.  She began to complain.  Sometimes, she preferred cooking a delicious meal herself at home rather than going out for a dinner at a restaurant.  He did not understand it but respected her choice anyway.


Over time, she received no more surprise gifts from her husband.  Nevertheless, when she opened her eyes in the morning on her birthday, the first thing she would see is a beautiful birthday card on the pillow.


May complained again: the wishes on the card were printed and were not meaningful to her.


Birthday cards stopped coming.  Instead, on or close to her birthday, her husband would drive for an hour or more on the weekend to take her to a Chinese restaurant to have morning tea to celebrate.


When her birthday approached, he would ask her what kind of gift she wanted.   May would often say that there seemed to be nothing that she wanted. When the iPad became available, he wanted to buy her one as a birthday gift.   Her response was that she was not a child who wanted to play games all day long.  However, when May’s brother and sister-in-law were in the United States for a visit, they discreetly bought a 64GB iPadII at Best Buy a few days before their departure.  They gave it to her as gift in spite of her protest.   Her brother installed some games including Zombies and Angry Birds.  She played a few of the games and instantly became addicted to them.  She fell into love with her iPad in no time.


This year, her husband was planning to give her a new camera as a birthday present. He checked on the Internet and chose the upcoming Sony Alpha 6000.   Unfortunately, the product release was delayed and it would not be available until after May’s birthday.  The date happened to overlap with a trip abroad; the purchase was postponed.


Shortly after the camera was on the market, the manufacturer promoted it with a $50 discount.  May hesitated and wanted to wait for further price reduction.


When she decided to buy, the price went back up to the original listing price.   May was undecided again.  Understanding his wife well, he comforted her by saying that it might be a good idea to wait a little bit longer since she did not need it in a rush anyway.


It ended up to be a wait of almost six months.


Although the gift was late, May was pretty satisfied but with a hint of loss and disappointment.   She suddenly felt a birthday gift without surprise could hardly be regarded as a special gift bought for her......


As the saying goes, "You cannot have your cake and eat it too."


May began to understand that she could not have both ways.....

 

 

 

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评论

木桐白云的头像
 #

伍月的甜蜜烦恼,呵呵!

 
春山如笑的头像
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呵呵, 没有烦恼的人少见, 就怕自寻烦恼. 谢谢木桐!

 
梅子的头像
 #

呵呵,理解,人的心思,说不准。

 
春山如笑的头像
 #

女人心, 海底针......呵呵。梅子, 新年快乐!

 
一休的头像
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那什么,非得过生日办婚典什么的走形式吗?特别特别不理解

 
春山如笑的头像
 #

我也不大理解那些没用的形式. 男人粗心的比较多, 但有些男人很会给妻子买礼物......一休, 新年快乐!

 
Amoy的头像
 #

片图是什么花,很淡雅悠然,喜欢。伍月的心情很有女孩心态••••••

 
春山如笑的头像
 #

是一种白丁香, 花香清新淡雅, 我也很喜欢谢谢Amoy 阅读点评,  摇摆不定也许是一些女人的通病......

 
天地一弘的头像
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伍月很知足,女人难得有一份知足。

 
春山如笑的头像
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伍月既向往浪漫又不懂得享受的, 所以常常自相矛盾...... 不过她应该是知足和现实的......

谢谢一弘点评, 新年快乐!

 
木易石的头像
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好素洁的花!字里行间,洋溢着伍月的满足,幸福,还有甜蜜的失落!祝主人新年快乐!

 
春山如笑的头像
 #

谢谢易石君点评, 新年快乐!

 
予微的头像
 #

看着花儿,仿佛芳香扑鼻。甜蜜的烦恼,被宠着的幸福!

 
春山如笑的头像
 #

可惜我们离的太远, 否则开花时可以折几枝给你!  多谢予微来访, 新年快乐!

 
绿岛阳光的头像
 #

有人宠是幸福的,呵呵。祝春山新年快乐!

 
春山如笑的头像
 #

谢谢绿岛, 新年快乐!

 
老粉的头像
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有鱼即好,熊掌就奢华了Laughing

 
春山如笑的头像
 #

呵呵, 还是实际一点好.  谢谢老粉, 新年快乐!

 
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