Sunday, September 09, 2012

A Non-Mutual Opinion of Lego

This morning, I was browsing the shopping ads when I came across a big Star Wars/Lego piece for sale.  I was sorely tempted, but $50 for even a very nerdy Lego set is hard to justify until I win the lottery.  What I didn't imagine was that the whole thought exercise would remind me of a story from some years ago, also regarding Lego and my girlfriend at the time.

It was her birthday, and I got her two or three things.  One of which was a little Lego playset of the scene from "Return of the Jedi" in the Emperor's throne room.  There was a little window, a throne for a Lego Emperor, and Lego Luke and Vader with lightsabers. There may have even been a little figure of one of those red-robed guards.

I thought this was cute and fun, so I wrapped it up and added it to the small pile.  Not as a gift that signfied the depths of our relationship, but as a gift that said "Hey, we both like Star Wars".  That part I was sure of, because we'd watched them and she'd told me how much she liked Star Wars.  We saw one in the theater at her insistence, so I felt I was on safe ground.

But it did not go well.

She was disappointed in it as a gift.  It wasn't the only thing I got her, and it was by far the least expensive, but that didn't seem to be as effective in an explanation as I thought.  She put it aside, but at a birthday dinner scoffed as she told what I'd gotten her.  All the friends laughed and made those questioning sounds that people do to signal to others that they "get" the joke.

I just lamely said I thought it was fun.  I'm still not sure if it was just a symptom of a larger problem, or if the gift itself was a catalyst.  Maybe she's somewhere writing a blog about how some guy from her past didn't "get" her and bought Lego instead of what she really wanted.

I bring this up because it highlights one of the things I dislike most about relationships: unequal communication.  Somewhere in there, I didn't get the explanation of what was or was not an appropriate birthday gift.  And she didn't get the explanation that I don't particularly like being mocked for... well, anything!

The memory of this story just sort of makes me sad.  It also contributes to my overall disinclination for giving gifts unless I'm damn sure I'm giving something they want.  There are lots of other ways this could have gone, but neither she nor I have to worry about the moment repeating.

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