It’s Sacha Story Time!
We were together for six years, which is a long time for a broken relationship. While I’d say neither of our needs were optimally met, we both drew something or some things out of the relationship along the way.
I’m not going to speculate as to what his takeaways were, but as my birthday draws nearer, I’m drawn back to this draft I originally thought of about last Spring when reading about the TV show Survivor.
You see, Sacha was a creative type and a person that approached his faith in humanity from a busted up, scientific method standpoint.
Pro: He generally gave great, all-in gifts to his loved ones.
Con: He required significant proof that you loved him.
That last one is pretty easy to dispatch with.
Suffice it to say, tokens went a long way with him. He called them symbols. Not at all problematic.
Except…100 people surveyed, top 1 answer on the board. “Name something that symbolizes a commitment in a relationship”.
So, you just know that came up way too early in the relationship. And me being a long-game, “what’s next?” type of guy looked at this simple fix as an opportunity to ask what the next fix would be.
Yeah, no ring.
But we did end up with new cars about every other year – that’s every year for him and every other year I got a new car for a week or two until he decided he liked mine better and I got his hand-me-down.
Oh, and three dogs.
So, I was proving as hard as I could, without capitulating, of course.
That’s the con.
Man, there’s a lot of great stuff to talk about. He was creative, so when he put his mind to it, he nailed gift giving. Besides being elaborate, they were usually fairly unique and personal.
It was a disintegrating tiki bar in NoPo that we’d go to occasionally with friends. I called it “the gayest straight bar in Portland”.
This was before the hipsters resurrected it a decade ago when Interstate Ave got its urban renewal shot in the arm.
Everyone I knew was there.
And, Sacha – not a baker, by any means – had made a gigantic cake in the shape of the starship Enterprise-A. It was, if memory serves, two half-sheet cakes and two tiers of a round cake. It was pretty fucking amazing, indeed a unique and memorable way to usher in my 30s.
There were the trip-gifts he gave us. Sure, I usually ended up funding them. He always earmarked his annual freelance project money for these trip-gifts, but it never fully funded them. But, it was ok. We were making memories. Again, he usually tried to keep them a surprise, requesting time off with my boss behind my back.
It was special.
I’ve been to Italy, France and Holland thanks to these little experience gifts he gave us.
Oh, and climbed a – y’know – volcano.
But even gifts that weren’t extravagant still demonstrated a lot of imagination and thought, making them uniquely personal experiences.
That’s where Survivor comes in.
For one of my birthdays, Sacha came up with this Great Race themed scavenger hunt or Survivor immunity challenge thingy. He gave me a clue to start me off and then planted subsequent clues and gifts throughout the house. Behind the TV, in the dryer, in our gazebo-thing…all over the place. Once again, Black Sheep Bro and Jackie Jack Ass were on hand, following my progress.
For whatever reason, I wasn’t all on board. He kept kinda having to prompt me along. Maybe it was because this was where I officially began getting old and grumpy. Maybe the clues were actually more obscure than I could bet my head around in the moment. Maybe it’s because I was inwardly terrified that he’d somehow actually submitted me to be a contestant on Survivor or Great Race.
Maybe I just don’t like being propelled into the center of attention. I can get there quite nicely, thank you.
On the one hand, even though I may not have demonstrated much enthusiasm in the moment, this example of Sacha gift giving also helped get me to the point I’m at today, where experiences are better than actual gifts.
On the other hand, I still carry the relationship wariness from that moment with me. That I might get caught up as the Ethel to my boyfriend’s Lucy in some crazy harebrained scheme like submitting me as a contestant in a reality show against my will where I have to pretend to be excited about something I’m not.
Let’s call that Why I’m Single #50 – turns out, I’m actually a reluctant participant.
But, I’m going with the pro: experience gifts > things.
My birthday is in two weeks.
I’m not registered…go figure.
Your gift to me? I’m turning 40.
Go with it.