Bait and Switch

KARA: Brian and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day over the weekend, but solemnly promised not to go overboard, given our upcoming honeymoon in Italy.

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Brian with shuffle.

I return from my Saturday morning walk, only to find Brian anxiously waiting for me at the front door. “Well?” he asks expectantly. “Did you like them?”

“Like what?” Just as I say that, my eyes land on the beautiful red roses artfully arranged in a vase on the kitchen table. “I must have missed them!”

Brian beams, looking like the cat that swallowed the canary. “That was just a warm-up. You’re going to love what I got you! And don’t forget dinner reservations at eight.”

My stomach churns, thinking of my homemade certificate good for ten free backrubs which doesn’t seem to cut it. What about saving for Italy? The old bait and switch, but I jump in without missing a beat. “You’re going to love your present too! I just have to go pick it up!”

I leave Brian alone with the Olympic curling team while I comb the city looking for an up to par Valentine’s Day present. When I finally decide on an iPod shuffle, I tear into Best Buy and corral the first salesman I see.

“I need to buy an iPod shuffle for my fiancé,” I explain.

“What kind do you want?”

“The small kind that looks like Wrigley’s gum.”

“As a gift?” he asks with disbelief. I nod. “You should really get the latest version with the video screen. I’m just telling you this as a favor,” he says with friendly condescension, “I don’t work on commission.”

“I’ll stick with the cheaper kind.” I land heavily on the word “cheaper.”

“Whatever,” he sneers. “Are you at least gonna get the carrying case?”

“Just the shuffle.” How dare he judge my Valentine’s Day present?

He hands me the miniscule iPod like it’s rat poison. “Glad I’m not your fiancé!” he laughs. Well, that makes two of us, buddy.

When I walk in the door, Brian bounds towards me with excitement. “OK. Sit down on the floor and close your eyes.” He places a slip of paper on my lap. “All set. Open them!” Two tickets for Jewtopia (which I’ve been dying to see for months), dinner at Mesa Grill and a hand-written card. Wow.

When it’s my turn, I timidly hand over my bunched-up coat and Brian unfolds it, extracting the tiny iPod.

“I haven’t gotten anything like this since my grandmother bought me a Walkman in fifth grade!” I study his face and decide that he really likes it.

Bait and Switch