Thursday, February 14, 2008

Things I don't get that other girls do...

(Part 1... of probably 1 billion.)

Valentine's Day.

I just ... don't get it.

I mean, I am a Card Person. Capital C, Capital P.

I know the location of 3 local Hallmark Stores. I know two of the salespeople at one store as more than nodding acquaintances (I may or may not know the names of their children).

I can, very easily, spend upwards of $50 (and 50 minutes) on choosing cards alone. I usually have a multistep approach to buying cards...
- Step 1: Pick up cards that I like, have a need for, may someday have a need for, or just plain want.
- Step 2: Try to keep a running tally in my mind of an approximate cost for the cards I am gathering.
- Step 3: About 45 minutes later, after having gone through each aisle of the store at least once, realize I now have enough cards to wallpaper my room with, and no freaking idea of how much they cost.
- Step 4: Realize that I cannot rob a bank in the next 15 minutes, which requires cutting the pile of cards in my lap down by about 75%.
- Step 5: Still spend about double what I had set out to spend, but walk away happy just the same.

If those steps get screwed with -- if I have an urgent need for just 1 card, for example, I feel disappointed that I did not get to loiter in the store for hours on end.

So I love cards. Hallmark commercials make me cry, I am sappy and sentimental and have a gooey chocolatey center. I celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and Grandparents' Day, and even sent a Friendship Day card one year (albeit totally by accident.

In short, I am the sort of person that seems tailor made for Valentine's Day Fever.

And yet, I have none.

I know what some of you may be thinking, but I am also not a Valentine's hater: a cynic, heartbroken at having spent her entire 28 years on earth Valentine free, set lose to terrorize the 'lucky few' out of their moonlit dinners and conversation hearts. (Well, I doubt that any of you are thinking that, but let's just say it wouldn't be the first time I ever heard that theory...)

No, I'm all for you having a great time if it means something to you... I just don't get it.

I like Valentine's Day parties in classrooms ... as you are reading this, children everywhere are sneaking business card-sized envelopes into the specially decorated desks of their classmates, eating cupcakes bedecked in pink sprinkles, or wondering at who could have possibly signed their card with a question mark. (And their teachers are shaking their heads at their naive belief that they might have actually accomplished any work today.) And, when you're teaching, any excuse for a party is welcomed ... but I don't get it: It isn't as if there are extensive curriculums set up that delve into the philosophy of love and it's many representations, or that there's a historical imperative to learn more about this wonderful patron saint of fainting, the plague, bee keepers and lovers (wow, I love being a Catholic!)... It's just, "Hello, it is February, and this is what we do in February."

I don't get buying roses when they're 3 times as expensive as they might be on any other random Thursday. Or heartshaped boxes of chocolates that are irresponsibly unlabeled (I hate those orange creme ones: why are they even in there??)

I don't get why single people have to feel lonelier on the 14th of this month than they would on any other mid-month (especially since, any other 14th day would not find them feeling particularly lonely at all). Or why couples should have to feel the pressure of adding a perfect night to their weekly routines. I don't get imposed happiness any more than I get imposed unhappiness.

I don't get how guys forget Valentine's Day, when it starts being everywhere right after Christmas, but I also don't get why it's so important that they should have to remember it.

It's just one of those things that I missed out on, like the need to buy shoes that cost more than a good camera.


I'm going to try to get back into posting: I've been missing it, and all of you.
My days are still very difficult: knowing the right thing to do for other people who are grieving, particularly my mum, is a hard, hard thing. Knowing what to do for myself is proving pretty difficult as well.

But I think we're all doing ok, and I'm going to keep thanking you all for all your help, just so you know how much I appreciate it. For now, I need to write again ... it helps me remember that there are other things going on -- in my life, and in the world -- and helps me feel more like myself. And I can use all of that that I can get.

1 comment:

The Goldfish said...

Valentine's is a much smaller deal in the UK, although the commercial interests try their hardest to make it a big one. Between AJ and I it is sometimes an excuse to do something a bit soppy, but there are never any cards, flowers or chocolates. I think very many couples are the same; it was only Christmas six weeks ago, why would we want to spend more money on one another? A friend wished me "Happy Hallmark Day" which I thought was apt.

I always understood the tradition to be about expressing love which hadn't previously been expressed. That it is basically for single people, those single people who have taken a fancy to someone.

Glad you are hanging in there.