Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Belated May Day

It's Cinco de Mayo today, which means that in addition to being able to justify the consumption of numerous margaritas and tacos, it also means that it was May Day a few days ago. I guess I sort of knew that it was May Day since I briefly glanced at an article in the newspaper about how no one distributes May Baskets anymore and what a travesty it was, because May Baskets make people happy. The first thing I thought of was gee, maybe it's because all of the people that have normally put together the May baskets have dealt with people like my neighbor (no, it's not the weed wacker neighbor, it's a different a neighbor) and have realized that no matter what you do, it's never enough and no one appreciates it, and contrary to popular belief, sometimes May Baskets end up just pissing people off.

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!


Anonymous said...

I just learned about May Day baskets yesterday. It was over the course of a few Amstel's in Amsterdam, and I was not impressed with the tradition. I referred him to your blog.


Anonymous said...

How can you even stand living where you do? Your neighbors sound like a total nightmare. You should paint your house purple just to really piss them off.