The human brain is an enigmatic organ.
Capable at times of processing huge amounts of complex information simultaneously.
Like chewing gum and walking in a straight line, straight to the pub after watching Oprah interview the royals.
Yet seemingly incapable of taking note of what someone wants for their birthday.
No matter how many times that someone might drop the hint over days, weeks, months leading up to the event by saying things like "eyes to me, listen carefully, I want this!"
Could they be anymore vague? You think.
Then, when you prod them about what it was they said they wanted, you get the time-honoured gift-giving grenade, "surprise me".
Not so much that you'll get something that knocks it out of the park on every level there is to getting a present.
That is, something that displays significant awareness of personal taste, nuance, style, not to mention date.
That WOULD be a surprise.
No, they mean "surprise me" by proving you took note of what it was they said they wanted way back when, by getting it.
Without any further prompts.
If only the brain could decipher such clearly ambiguous signals.
Maybe "ambiguous" is not the right word. Let's make it "hard to remember".
Not so much the "I want this" part. You remember that. It was the bit that came after. What was it they said they wanted?
This really comes into focus when you're trying to buy ladies summer pyjamas and obviously struggling with the genre in front of a cashier.
It's like you listened, but you didn't hear, looked but you didn't see, nodded but didn't process. And it happens a lot.
The good news is that mounting evidence suggests not paying attention may well be the bedrock of many relationships.
Because if not paying attention was a problem, surely there'd be less relationships.
You only have to look at Parliament to realise attention spans vary.
Politicians continually make laws for the country and then forget those laws apply to politicians just like everybody else.
The only law that should apply when it comes to remembering what a person wants for a present is to write it down the moment they mention it.
And then remember where you put the thing that you wrote it down on.
This can open a new can of worms but I suggest you check all grocery bags, pockets and that pile of waste in the corner you call your filing system.
Hopefully you find something. Failing that, consider getting a tattoo as an effective reminder. Perhaps on the forehead.
It may give the game away if your significant other still looks at you after the last dud present you came up with.
But it would certainly be in your face, if not on it. That way, you could get on it too, and brain the next present you're required to deliver.