Annual Note:
Happy Birthday, My Dear
19 April 2019

It is Kathleen’s birthday today, and I wish I had a present to give her. If I did have a present to give her, it would be a pair of earrings from Gale Grant, the costume jewelry shop on Lexington Avenue. It’s very difficult to buy things for Kathleen. She knows exactly what she wants (when she sees it), but the algorithms are not forthcoming. I could probably choose a scarf at Herm├Ęs that she would like enough to wear, but she would be furious at the expense, and she already has plenty beaucoup scarves. With the earrings, I have an excellent record. To some extent, my score is helped by the limited collection of plain gold-plate earrings with clips. A grande dame even when I met her forty years ago, Kathleen has never had her ears pierced. This cuts down the availabilities. It is also something of an advantage that costume earrings do lose their lustre, eventually. 

Kathleen has, however, given me ample opportunity to study her taste in earrings by taking them off when she gets home from work and leaving them all over the house. I am too transfixed by her magnificence to take a close look at earrings when she is wearing them. The tactile contact that I get from ferrying them back to the bedroom is far more instructive.

The thing is, I do not go out of my way to buy Kathleen earrings, as I explained last year. The last time I was in the shop, I bought two pairs, one for our anniversary, which was coming up, and one for Christmas. I fully expected to pass by again before April, but thanks to the antics of my right foot (all cleared up now and nearly forgotten), I have not been to the dentist since last fall.  I could have made a special trip, I know, but I’ll be going to 60th Street in two weeks. 

Kathleen’s birthday present to herself appears to be learning how to use an app called Garageband to make ringtones. Although she turns her phone’s volume way down during these little tutorials, it still fills the air with the scratchy racket that ceased being interesting a week after the introduction of first-vintage transistor radios (which guys had to hold to their ears). On my way out of the bedroom to come in here, I told her that leaving her to play in peace was my birthday present. Quite sure of the impending appearance of a new pair of earrings, she contented herself with a sarcastic smirk, also circa 1959. 

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