Back to school, back to birthday parties. Two this weekend. Data's own in a scant three weeks. What are you getting her? She wants an iPad, a pair of Zipp 800s and the complete works of Stewart Lee on doovd. Send them care of Gimme.
The highly competitive nature of these events begins with the arrival of the invitation. Some of us, specifically the would be losers in this game of parties, content ourselves with a group text. Others choose to replicate the business card scene from American Psycho. While both obnoxious and sickening this is at least fitting, given the carnage that tends to ensue when a large group of seven year old girls are force-fed ketchup and released into the wild.
Both of the weekend invites came in this afternoon. The first by phone, rambling, incoherent and dripping with the kind of text speak that when composed by someone over forty smells not a little of the drunken wheedles of a comb-overed uncle at a 21st birthday party. The second was pure Bateman. Tasteful font. Muted but unusual colours. The bare minimum of information. I suspect there was a graphic designer involved. Nothing is too good for their little psychopath. Both invitations include the now de rigeur request for €5 in place of a present. The text informs us that this is because the giftee is 'saving for a bigger bike'. The latter does not specify, presumably because it would throw out the typeset. I think that we can safely assume it's for a new pair of Nikes or an axe. No party favours for guessing which mother I might almost consider a friend and which blanks my wildly varying facial fuzz at the school gates.
But this fiver. What a fucking joke, I have recently realised. The final party of the season, before the welcome summer break, saw me delivering both Data and a stray child to the house of yet another little princess who had requested the aforementioned monetary gift. Data bore a thoughtlessly thrown together handmade card fashioned from twistables and a grubby sheet of A4, with a crumpled fin attached by a paperclip. Her backseat buddy had a card, an envelope containing a tenner and a fucking present. Wherefore. Toxic. Fudge. And it seems that this is the norm. Ask, and due to the chilling desperation of Northside Southside wannabes to appear richer than, or at the very least, as rich as, they are, ye shall receive a whole fuckload more.
Well, Gimme ain't buying it. Or buying into it. Or buying anything more that the penny sweet it takes to break a ten spot into two almost fives. Let them think that I'm cheap. Let them know that I'm poor, or slightly poorer than they. Let them scorn my child and make a point of never stopping the music when she holds the parcel. Let them...Fuck. I don't know.
I never ever know.