“What do you get the person who has everything?” Windsor-area man Todd Spudnik asks rhetorically from the driver’s seat of the postal truck he is whipping in endless donuts around a Walmart parking lot.
“I’ll tell you on the 25th when I show up empty-handed at your house, drink all your mulled wine, demand more white meat, ask if you call that a béchamel, and leave with arms full of things thoughtful, organized people purchased for me that I will lovingly place in my home, and later use to brighten the cockle-chilling days of January with, despite not having not done this in kind for anyone else because ‘my presence is the present’ people. And. You. Are. Most. Welcome.”
He applies the hand brake, sending us careening across the desolate flatlands of the outer parking lot, the distant mountain range of mega-storefront looming with its single blue summit, welcoming and serene, promising endless aisles of inexpensive ways to show someone you thought about them at least one during earth’s most recent terrifying spin through a total vacuum around a giant ball of burning gas.
“Not today brother,” Todd responds when asked if he’s going to head in to purchase fourteen identical packs of socks to sprinkle liberally around his circle of friends and family, as a token nod to caring – if only in a cheap, cotton-blend sort of way.
“And if history is anything to go by, I almost certainly won’t; though I do reserve the right to pretend this might be the year I take on a smidgen of the emotional labour all of the women in my life have been engaging in every December for as long as they can remember. Gotta be honest though, between ping-pong at Dennis’s tonight, informal drinks on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and a light flurry forecast for Friday, it isn’t looking good. I sure as shit ain’t going on the weekend. Can’t stand the crowds. All those women trying to take care of everyone in their lives all at once. It really is just awful.”
No, not for him, Todd declares, as we pull nearly six G’s into another neck-cracking tail whip, yet-to-be-delivered packages rattling around like beans in a maraca in the boot of the small vehicle. Nope, not this guy. Consumerism has its limits, and for Todd his annual sabbath from buying shit coincides with the one time of the year it happens to be for everyone else.
“Looking forward to Boxing Day though,” he admits cheerfully. “That old 52-inch TV from last year just isn’t cutting it anymore. So unless Mom comes through for me there, expect to see me first in line at oh-six-hundred on the morning of the 26th right over there by the bags of salt, ready to shop till I drop.”