Gift shopping puzzler
Two weeks ago, Pat and I installed Gerald in a dorm at Arizona State University, where he plans to study architecture. Two weeks from now, he has a birthday, and we’re at a loss to figure out what to get him that will be both useful and special.
His dorm room is already well furnished with the basics – he and his roommate between them have covered all the necessities: television, fridge, microwave. Stereos aren’t the necessity they were when Pat and I were students – their computers have speaker systems, and they also have iPods for personal entertainment. We went on a shopping spree for most of the less glamorous stuff, too: desk lamp, wastebasket, laundry hamper, and so forth.
And speaking of computers, Gerald got a nice one from his grandparents as a high school graduation present, so that’s taken care of, and his roommate has a nice printer the two can share. The other big-ticket item that’s taken care of is a bicycle – Gerald bought himself a nice, heavy-duty mountain bike last week.
He has expressed a wish for accessories for his vehicle, the Gila Monster, such as new fender flares that will accommodate the larger tires. But he doesn’t have the Monster with him, and since I’m now the primary driver of the vehicle, getting anything for it would really be getting it for me and not for him.
I thought of the possibility of dorm-room décor – the place was pretty bare when he moved in. It seemed that when Pat and I were in college, just about every men’s dorm room had the obligatory Farrah Fawcett pin-up poster. If you grew up in that era, you know the one that I mean. But I don’t know what pin-up Gerald would go for, and besides that, he brought his own wall décor – replicas of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and I think maybe the Magna Carta too. (Gee, maybe he should be studying law, or perhaps journalism, rather than architecture, especially since his favorite class, judging by how much email space he gives it, is English composition/rhetoric.)
So, what’s a gift for a college freshman who pretty much has everything he needs – something a little bit special and perhaps offbeat, something he wouldn’t just go out and buy for himself, but that he would appreciate? I was originally going to add the criterion that it be small enough to fit into (or get towed behind) a Ford Expedition, but then I realized the dorm room is smaller than the Expedition’s interior and is shared with a roommate, so the size restriction is more like what would fit into a small station wagon.
So, faithful readers, especially those of you who have been in college more recently than I, what’s a cool gift for The Gerald?