For Christmas, a few weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine (let us call her D) bought me a new DVD player, as mine, itself once a hand-me-down from another friend, had recently died. Now, D works a fast food job, and so the DVD player she was able to afford was only the very cheapest type, but it was still a considerable outlay for her, and a tremendously kind gesture. I was extremely grateful for both the thoughtfulness of the gift, and her generosity.
Now, another friend of mine – let us call him E – expressed dismay when he heard of this, and admitted he had intended to buy me a replacement DVD player, of far higher quality. I thanked him very much for his kind intention, assured him I was pleased with the one I had, and thought no more of it.
Now, because the DVD player D gave me is a bottom-range one, it skips when it becomes too hot, so badly that it effectively becomes unusable and any visual media I was consuming via it must be abandoned until the player cools down sufficiently to become functional, again. The weather here has been very hot recently, and so this has been something of a problem, but it has begun to move towards a cool change in the last couple of weeks, and so the issue has more or less resolved itself. I mentioned this casually among friends only once it was no longer an issue, not as a complaint but simply, “Oh, the new player is brilliant. It skipped a little when it got too hot, but thankfully that’s not a problem anymore. It’s great to be able to watch movies at home, again!”
However, I saw E last night, for a social call, and he turned up with a brand new, high-quality combined DVD/BluRay player as a gift for me, saying he had decided to get it for me anyway, so that I could have a nicer one than the one D bought me. I was a little taken aback, and did the only thing I could think of to do, as I know of no polite way to decline a present; I thanked him for what was a very generous gesture, and accepted the gift as graciously as my complete bewilderment would allow.
But now I have the problem that E’s generosity and good intentions but etiquette clumsiness (I must stress, power plays are not in him; he has such a good heart, he just misses some social subtleties, sometimes) have put me in an awkward predicament; what on Earth do I do? I now have two DVD players, both well-meant gifts from very kind friends, and only one television – D gave me her gift first, and only weeks ago, at significantly higher proportionate expense (if calculated at income:item cost ratio), but I know if I do not use the much more expensive player that E, in his misguided effusiveness, bought for me, he will be confused and hurt. Both friends are over my house often enough that whichever player I choose to use, moving forward, the other’s absence will not go unnoticed for long.
Help me, E-Hell. You’re my only hope. 0131-13
I think I would invest in an entertainment/TV cabinet with doors and hide both DVD players from eyesight from both E and D. If they happen to go snooping, they will see two DVD players side by side and will therefore have to presume which one is actually being used. I think I would also leave recently watched DVDs in each machine thus leaving it ambiguous as to which one is being used.