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Spending time with my family can be torture for David. He enjoys everyone's company, conversation, and humor, just not at the same time. Two days and nights of our frenzied celebration was a little much for him. He almost passed out as we opened presents and threw paper at him for the trash before he had time to dispose of what he'd already been handed; each of us opened gifts simultaneously, shouting out thanks and digging into the next before David could learn what was from whom and why the recipient appreciated it.

But time stood still for the big gifts. A hush fell over the room as Jenny lifted the large box that David had wrapped in leopard-print paper with a fuchsia bow (thinking to distract her with what was clearly very heavy lingerie from Frederick's of Hollywood). With one tear of the racy paper, Jenny recognized the Apple logo, and wept with shock and gratitude. The rest of us teared up as well, then sighed happily, and reverted to hysteria.

Through the hubbub, I could hear David mutter "Jesus Christ!" so many times I thought his atheism had been cured. He's been in a state of decompression ever since, refusing even to watch Kids in the Hall on DVD (one of the gifts he gave me), because he can't handle the noise of it. Poor thing. In this instance, he is the flower.

I, on the other hand, thrive on the chaos. My face glowed in the reflection of Jane's eyes, which lit up as she gazed upon the contents of the teal Tiffany & Co. boxes. Dad loved his new CD Walkman (perfect for listening to the books on CD he gets at the library), and Mom will have fun being pampered with me at an upscale La Jolla spa.

After presents, games, and our traditional dinner of Mom's chicken cutlet parmigiana and lasagna, I decided to spare David a session of frantic Trivial Pursuit and packed up my booty (literally, a car full of gifts). But that's not what mattered. Outside, with my cheeks rosy from the cool night air, my eyes twinkling in a satisfied stare, I called to my slave to open my door, and then started the car like never before. "On Corolla, on H Street, on the 805 freeway, to the 15, to David's, to where I will stay!" And while facing north, I glanced in the mirror, and said to the city, "I'll see you on Easter!"

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