The act of gift giving stresses me out because I am anal.
Not only do I try to give gifts that I think will be perfectly enjoyed by the recipient but another requirement is that I must like it for myself.
(At times, this self imposed requirement actually ends up hindering the gift giving)
Last Christmas, I was painstakingly matching gift cards to teachers, nieces, nephews and the bus driver.
Mulling over my choices with a friend (who shall remain nameless)
I was informed that my Kentucky Fried Chicken Certificate choice for the school bus driver was inappropriate because he is black.
I was confused. To make sure, I asked another (nameless) friend--and I got the same answer: inappropriate.
Upon further research I found it interesting that indeed, ethnic groups' favored foods were being used as verbal ammunition.
I thought, since when did what we eat become fodder for racism?
How did society make the transition from identifying what people enjoyed eating to making it a racial slur?
And, how did we, who actually enjoyed eating the certain food, decide it was insulting for others to say that we enjoyed eating the certain food?
I could have just given him a gift card to Starbucks and been done with it but due to my own stubborness and my preference for KFC, I didn't.
Since my goal was to make him happy (and not to take a sociological stance)
I decided to prepare a back-up present.
(I said I was anal)
I prepared a Wholefoods treatbag
(parrano cheese, waterwheel crackers and red seedless grapes) and the KFC certificate.
On the morning of the gift giving I waited for him to pull up.
I climbed aboard the bus and presented him with my offerings:
"Mr. Tom, these are two of my favorites...pick what you want for Christmas."
He picked up the KFC certificate, flashed me a big grin and gave me the thumbs up sign.
And that was that.
An easy target for gastronomic racism I am, considering these are right up there in my list of favorite foods.
(Eaten all together in one spoonful, it is a taste explosion)
However, I believe that when one has nothing but good intentions, a gift should never have to bite you in the ass.