Chapter 12: Bratty McBratFace: College Graduate!
In May of 2018, Bratty McBratFace was set to graduate with a B.A. in Gender Studies. SO and I were invited to attend the ceremonies, along with a couple of aunts and uncles. Bratty was really excited and planned activities for family that were travelling in from out of town. SO travelled out a few days earlier than I did – as I was still getting comfortable in my new job I couldn’t take a lot of time off. So I flew out separately for the long weekend, primarily to attend the ceremony.
I put quite a bit of thought into a gift for Bratty. In the past, she had not been very excited or frankly even gracious about birthday and Christmas presents that I had given her (though they were always relatively small gifts). College graduation was a big event and I thought worthy of a nicer gift.
During the Summer of Terror 2.0 Bratty had often wished for backpacking-type backpack to use for travel and backcountry camping. She lamented at the high cost of these backpacks and often scoured the neighborhood Goodwill store to see if any used ones were available for sale. As her budget was $5, she shockingly was unable to locate even a used pack within this very limited budget.
So for graduation I thought I would purchase a new pack for Bratty. I asked SO what he thought of the idea and he said it was thoughtful and Bratty would probably be excited. So I went ahead and found a nice pack at REI that looked like it would fit her frame. I brought it with me to her graduation.
The night before the ceremony, Bratty’s uncle (who lived an hour or so away) hosted a dinner party to celebrate. I left the actual pack at our hotel but did put a picture of it in Bratty’s card. When gifts were handed out after dinner, I handed Bratty the card with the photo of the pack. Bratty looked at it and said a very cool ‘thank you’.
The next morning we stopped by Bratty’s off-campus apartment to drop off the pack and drive her to campus. Bratty looked at, took it, and placed it aside. We then drove Bratty to campus and took some pictures of her in cap and gown around the campus. Bratty LOVES posing for pictures and will spend an hour in the same place experimenting with slightly different positions. SO patiently snapped the photos while I held Bratty’s coat and bag. Which was pretty much my role that weekend – coat-and-bag holder. Which was no problem, I understood the weekend was not about me and I was happy to support SO.
Bratty eventually finished up with photos and then separated to prepare for the commencement ceremony. We grabbed coffee nearby and met up with Bratty’s aunts and uncles. It was a cool day outside and the ceremony was in an indoor gymnasium. It was a typical commencement ceremony – filled with pomp and circumstance while anxious family wait for the name of their graduate to be called. Bratty looked excited and SO was extremely proud, as any parent would be watching their child achieve such an important life milestone.
After commencement, we all went to a local restaurant for dinner. Now, Bratty made a point to tell (brag?) to everyone that she had picked a nice restaurant for her graduation dinner and made the reservations all by herself using the OpenTable app on her phone.
When we got to the restaurant, we checked in with the hostess. She looked at her reservations list, and said ‘Sorry Ms. McBratFace, we don’t see any reservations under your name’. Bratty then whipped out her phone looking for a confirmation email but couldn’t find one. Bratty was now starting to panic. Inexplicably, Bratty turns to me and asks me if I can check my phone. Um, huh? I was the designated coat-and-bag-holder and now apparently the reservation-maker. Above my pay-grade. I told Bratty she was welcome to use the OpenTable app on my phone but I didn’t know anything about her reservation. Bratty frowned and kept checking her phone. Finally SO asked the hostess if they were able to accommodate our party anyway. The manager came over and let us know they luckily a last minute cancellation and were able to fit us in. All’s well that ends well.
During dinner Bratty gave each couple a framed picture of herself in her cap and gown as a thank you for attending. Narcissistic Gift Giving 101: Nothing says thank you like a framed picture of yourself. SO got a special poster-sized version as well as a ‘regular’ sized one. Probably an indication of my dislike for Bratty but I was thinking in that moment – no way SO is hanging that giant thing anywhere I can see it LOL. But of course, it was not the time or the place and I didn’t say a word except the requisite thank you, what a nice picture, etc.
After dinner, SO and I dropped Bratty off at her apartment and went back to our room. As we were packing a few things to get ready for our flight the next morning, SO gently tells me that Bratty mentioned she didn’t like the backpack I had given her and thought it was too large. She was annoyed because it was one more thing she would have move out of her apartment.
I was quiet for moment but then got extremely upset. First, I thought it was incredibly rude for Bratty to say anything other than thank you for that gift. Also, I was really pissed at SO. Why didn’t he tell Bratty to appreciate the thought behind the gift regardless? Why did he even say anything at all to me? It’s not like I would know if Bratty returned it, sold it, re-gifted it, threw it out – whatever. Bratty saying anything, and then SO saying it back to me, was incredibly hurtful. I told SO Bratty could throw it off a bridge for all I cared, as it was the last gift I would ever get for Bratty.
And I stayed true to my words. For Bratty’s birthday (which was a couple of months after her graduation) I mailed her a card but no gift. For Christmas, I sent her nothing as she made a big deal about announcing that she is no longer celebrating Christmas as she was no longer Christian. She asked SO what she should get me for Christmas that year and I said I wanted nothing from her. Then she asked SO if she should get us something ‘for the house’ (my house) to help decorate it. As my home was still new, we had a lot of wall space still left to decorate. So Bratty apparently thought she was allowed to participate in that. I told SO hell no and anything Bratty gets ‘for the house’ will be promptly thrown away. So I think we can say that after 2018, I was (and still am) done with any gift-giving to Bratty.
Back to the graduation weekend - our flight home was uneventful. Fortunately Bratty was staying near her college that summer as her program was at a university nearby, making it more practical to stay local and look for a new place to rent for the following semester. One would think Bratty would consider working that summer but of course she didn’t. In the next Chapter, we’ll see what Bratty did during her summer, including her summer fling.