Before we moved into our neighborhood about a dozen years ago, I stopped by and introduced myself to our new neighbors. Hi, my name is Jody, this is Zach, yes I'm pregnant, no I'm not from China, yes I speak English, etc., etc. I learned later that she then mentioned to other neighbors that she had "met the new buyers" but couldn't remember much about us because "due to the accent, she had a hard time understanding me." This was not a good sign.
Shortly after we moved in, May 1st arrived. Now, I had no idea that a stupid thing like May Baskets even existed until she called me and asked me if we wouldn't mind putting one together and leaving it on their front step to surprise her youngest daughter. Since I didn't want to be known as the neighbor with the accent who also happens to be a tightwad, un-fun and cranky, I said sure and took Zach to Target. After all, I'm sure we needed toilet paper and a couple other things anyway.
Turns out, it was kind of fun buying small gifts for a little girl. We filled a beach bucket with lip balm, stickers, some new crayons, a small book and some candy, put a ribbon on top, brought it home and then ding dong ditched the thing.
While I wasn't expecting a thank-you phone call or even a May Basket in return, I for sure wasn't prepared when I got a phone call for the sole purpose of bitching me out. What did I think this was, some kind of competition? Why would I be so blatantly indulgent and over-the-top? It was just supposed to be a May Basket, not a gift-giving holiday. Didn't I know better? Apparently I didn't, because this whole "request gifts for your own kid from a complete stranger thing" was kind of new to me.
Needless to say, since that year, May 1st has always come and gone without a May Basket in sight. Throughout the years, there have been random requests from this same neighbor for a cup of flour here or a stick of butter there or hey, I'm making baked potatoes for dinner and do you have six potatoes? (Seriously, if you're going to make baked potatoes, but then realize that you have no potatoes, make the damn rice.) For all I know, maybe when I say "sure, I'll leave the contents of my pantry on the front step" someone is hanging up the phone and complaining about the fact that I didn't deliver the requested item, or didn't just offer to make dinner for her, or how dare I actually have the ingredient on hand because now I made her look bad.
It's frustrating that for some people, doing what they ask or having what they want still is never enough to make them happy and no matter what, they'll always find something to be pissed about. And with that thought...I think it's time for a margarita!