I finished my last project for the day twenty minutes ago. So did nearly everybody else at the office. Nonetheless, here we are, bored out of our minds and trying hard to look productive, as we wait for our minimum weekly requirement of hours to be met.
Meanwhile, there is a box on my desk that arrived this afternoon. It’s from my mother. Inside it is a birthday present. It is torturing me. See, she called me yesterday to find out where she should send it. (I’m very proud of her for doing so, because it means she’s remembered that we have a teeny tiny NYC apartment-style mailbox and sending us packages at home is an exercise in frustration.) And I have this vague memory of her saying that I should ‘open it as soon as it gets there.’ I think.
But what if I’m wrong? What if she didn’t say it? The Avenging Virgo does not like breaking the rules of How Things Should Be Done. And one of said rules is that Birthday Presents Are for Birthdays. You know, like Christmas Presents Are for Christmas. If she told me to open it early, then it’s okay; I had to. But if she didn’t tell me to do it, and I do it anyway, well…that’s cheating. Bad. Simply Not Done. And my birthday isn’t actually until next week.
But what if it’s cookies? It might be cookies. It might be a batch of the family specialty: Mrs. Peppard’s Cookies. Oh what if it is? What if, inside this innocent-looking box, there is a supernova of chocolate deliciousness? All for me? Desperate to be eaten ere they go stale or get broken into crumbs?
(Well, if they get stale or broken into crumbs, you put them on ice cream. In my experience. But they never hang around long enough to get stale.)
Oh, the torture. Outside the window the window-washers go up and down on their platform, and far below them the taxis head north towards the Park. But here on this side of the glass it’s just me and a white cardboard box, and a decision as yet unmade.
POSTSCRIPT: My sister just called, not five minutes later. I told her about the box. She said, and I quote: “What if it’s cookies? What if it’s Mrs. Peppard’s Cookies? I bet it is. You have to open it.” So I did.