By Barbara Falconer Newhall
“What do you want for your birthday,” Jon wanted to know.
A biggish birthday was coming up, one that ended with a five. I figured Jon was good for an equally biggish birthday present.
“Well, I need a new computer,” I ventured. “And a new cell phone.”
My pokey old computer still runs Windows 7, and I’m probably the last person on earth still carrying around an iPhone 3GS, vintage 2009.
“Sure,” Jon said.”We’ll get you a computer and a cell phone.” Jon’s voice had that telltale lilt in it. The one I hear whenever I tell my husband that my computer’s gone buggy. Jon loves all things digital. He loves figuring out why my computer crashes. Even more he loves an excuse go out and buy a new one.
Later that day I did a double take.
Two No-Fun Birthday Gifts
What the heck? A computer and a cell phone for my biggest, fattest birthday yet? No way! Getting a new computer on your 75th is like getting new clothes on your eighth.
What I wanted — really and truly — was one of my friend Nancy Selvin’s pots. A nice one. A big one. I wanted nothing more than to pay a visit to Nancy’s studio, get a guided tour, and talk about clay and glazes and beautiful stuff.
And pick out a pot. Hang the expense.
A Surfeit of Pots
Jon didn’t get it. Our house is full of pots and plates and platters, hand painted and gathered from the ends of the earth. There isn’t enough wall space in our entire house to display all of them at once. They sit in patient stacks under the TV and atop the
coffee table and squirreled away in my mother’s old china cabinet, awaiting their turn at one of the earthquake-proof picture hooks nailed to our walls.
Did we need another pot? No. Did I want a pot by Nancy Selvin? Yes.
This was a big birthday coming up. Jon had had one just like it a few months earlier. He felt my pain. I had him where I wanted him.
“OK,” he said at last. “I don’t get it. But go ahead. Get what you want.”
And that’s what I did. On the day after my big Seven-Five, Nancy welcomed me into her studio on Page Street in Berkeley. And I got what I wanted.
More about adding yet another year to my already massive collection at “The Shame of Aging: The Big Seven-Five Has Finally Arrived.” More about Jon at “Would My Husband Like to Add My Name to His?”