Well, not really.

It’s just that this week has been alarmingly stressful. Between the jetlag (an average of four hours of sleep a night does not make for a happy girl), a burgeoning cold, very little exercise, and one very cranky, mostly former client, this person was pissy beyond belief.

Fortunately, everything has sort of ironed itself out now, although I’m still dealing with one or two things. They should resolve themselves soon.

Anyway, the whole point of this is: I wrap presents when I am feeling frazzled. It makes me feel organized, mostly because of this little section of the cabinet above my desk:

This is the place in which I store the most recent stash of gift bags, ribbon, and paper. The other thing about this shelf is, almost everything in here in re-purposed. In fact, I don’t think I’ve purchased gift wrap or gift bags for years. Lara once gave me a present wrapped in gorgeous textured silver-stars-on-navy-background paper, and I used that for five years, in bits and bobs and scraps. On the top shelf is everything from Mylar from balloons to the pink paper that the dry-cleaners stuff my shirt-sleeves and cover their hangars with to some of the packing paper that the movers moved us with back in 2009.

Likewise, there is some of this paper:

We did a race in Crystal Lake, IL called the Wooly Mammoth. It was 2007, and I was still running ARFE, and we had recruited several new friends to adventure racing to do the race. (Mr. Gooddirt was working for Gatorade at the time, too, so we also dragged some Gatorade friends out to race with us.) At the end of the race (race report here), the race director had course maps left over (4 feet x 5 feet), so he gave all five remaining maps to me, in the spirit of staying green. Over the years, I’ve used this paper to make stationery and bookmarks, and I’ve wrapped presents with it too. These are the scraps of a stationery project.

So. The gift-wrapping. What is it about gift-wrapping? Is it the sharp corners, the creasing? Is it the sense of getting the most out of whatever materials you have at hand? For me, gift-wrapping is specifically associated with two times in my life:

1. It was 1994. I was an intern at The Atlantic Monthly. Their fiction internship was an unpaid internship at the time (I don’t know if it is still), so I supplemented the money my parents gave me with a job at the Copley Square Brookstone. I made a lot of sales and wrapped a lot of presents, and in general, discovered an affinity for sales and marketing and retail. The wrapping at Brookstone, by the way, involves thick, coated, luxurious, totally un-recyclable paper. We used extra of it, too, folding the ends over so that no raw edges showed. Yum. And never again.

2. In 2007 and 8, I worked for a children’s bookstore just down the street from us, in Chicago. I loved it there. People walked in, we made smart suggestions about what they should buy, they walked out happy. I’ll never forget one early morning, jingling the keys in my hand, relishing the cool spring weather, unlocking the bookstore door, turning the sign over to read “Open,” flipping the lights, thinking to myself, “I could do this forever.” Of course, I couldn’t. Some day, I might own my own bookstore. Some day. But it won’t be the only thing I do. Anyway, we wrapped a lot of presents there, too.

I suspect this is part of the reason I like to wrap when I’m stressed. Also, it’s nice to think about someone else.

Anyway, here’s this morning’s finished product, a gift for tonight’s gift exchange with some girlfriends.

Bonus: The purple present above the red one is for my sister-in-law, a belated birthday present. The purple wrapping is Mylar, from a grocery-store plant. So is the accompanying bow. But the navy ribbon is from a wedding gift a friend of ours gave us.

God, what a lame post. Sorry. What is the point of this? I don’t know. Anyway. It’s too late. *Presses “post.”*


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