Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 14th . . .so what.

Valentine’s Day . . .who’s lousy idea was this anyway? This has to be one of the most ridiculous holidays on the calendar. Why do we need one special day to acknowledge those special people in our lives? Shouldn’t we do that every day? Things like paying your taxes, having a mammogram, taking down the Christmas lights, getting your car inspected, and flu shots should happen only once every 365 days, not telling those closest to you how much you love them.

And then there are the idiotic ways in which we express this one day a year love. I was at the grocery store this morning for yogurt, toilet paper, and green beans, none of these having anything to do with Valentine’s Day. Not only were there many aisles slathered with items adorned in pink and red hearts, but there was a huge tent, like where a revival might be held, erected in the parking lot. It was filled with flowers. Buying flowers in the grocery store revival tent is a pathetic picture of a holiday. As I made my way through the store, I heard several employees talking about how the Valentines items still remaining in the store needed to be moved to the tent. There go the Hershey kisses . . .but there are always the ones in the plain old silver wrappers rather than the red ones. Chocolate is not just a one day a year thing either.

About 4;30 this afternoon, Erin and I went to Target. Immediately inside the door was the rack holding the Valentine’s Day cards. There was a mob of people three deep in front of it. These are the people for whom expression of love is hard even only one day a year. Come on guys (and gals), you should gave thought of this before now! And, if you are smart, you will ditch the card and go get the very last bouquet of roses over there next to the broccoli and artichokes. You have to know that the cards that are left at this point are so stupid. Real people would never even think those things, not to mention sign their name to a card and give it to someone knowing that they might actually read it! How humiliating is that. Surely you can think of something to say all by yourself!

I got a card that did just that. Erin made me a card. It looks just like you expect – red construction paper, cutout hearts in pink and white and, for a personal touch, accents of black hearts. Around all the hearts are words written in her hand. Okay, they are song lyrics, but she had to think about which lyrics to use. It is like a handwritten mix tape. Because her creative energies were flowing yesterday at school, much of the text is in French. This too is OK. Erin and I often carry on conversations in French. It is the one language that no one else at our house speaks. Though I love reading all the sentiments that she chose to include, I don’t see this as a once a year thing. The things she wrote are the same songs she sings to me nearly every day.

Did I give Valentine’s Day gifts? Yes, but around here, we are always giving each other little tokens of love. Erin often leaves me notes on my computer or on my night stand. I send her notes in her lunch sack. In celebration of today, I gave her a Brian Andreas print that says, “The secret is not in your eye or in your voice, my aunt told me once. The secret is in your heart. Of course she said, that doesn’t make it any easier.”

Brooke is even more cynical than me about the celebration of holidays such as this. I sent her heart shaped pasta purely for the annoyance factor and soap and handknit washcloths. To which she responded, “Why do I need these? I don’t smell bad.” Spoken as a true college student. To celebrate the day, she and some friends were going to see The Vagina Monologues on campus. That is a cool way to spend Valentine’s Day. This is a show that when produced on February 14th is royalty free. Just to keep me from feeling too good about her cultural endeavor, she allowed as to how they are giving away a door prize at the performance, a vibrator from Early To Bed, a feminist sex shop in Chicago. Isn’t education grand!

Since Mike was out of town today, I was spared from the obligatory box of candy and the revival tent flowers. If he really loved me he would put his clothes in the laundry basket and throw away the junk mail. Oh, and these things would happen every day. Though come to think about it, one day a year is a start.

Remember that love does not stop at 11:59 tonight. It will be even better tomorrow when all of the candy is 50% off!