I am fastening my seat belt for what might be a disappointing Valentine’s Day. As I type this early on Saturday morning (Valentine’s Day), my wife is in the bedroom sleeping very hard. I could say that a very loud sound is emanating from the room, but she is adamant that she does not snore. Tip O’Neill famously said that all politics is local, so I want to categorically declare that absolutely no snoring is going on in my home right now. There is, however, a very loud murmur coming from what I assume might be the wine cooler, which sits in our bedroom (what, yours isn’t?). I must attend to that pesky device later.
Beginning yesterday, erev Valentine’s Day, we both starting coming down with some kind of a virus. Mine fortunately turned out to be only a 24 hour one, but I do fear that Gorgeous might have something more severe. All of yesterday afternoon and evening she complained of chills, a headache, and aches all over her body. It is flu season and all, and the symptoms don’t sound very promising. But being the trained son of a Jewish mother that I am, I made two runs to the deli for matzoh ball soup, purchased the ridiculously expensive homeopathic Zicam, and if you, Dear Reader, will ignore the “medicinal pour” last evening of Crown Royal Black, we both consumed therapeutic hot liquids all day till it was coming out of, well, never mind. Suffice to say that we followed all the rules for fighting a cold that doctors on TV and in the magazines say you should. Although it’s all in the hands of the gods now, we still might sacrifice a virgin cocoa plant later just to keep hope alive.
For most of my early single years, I would holler out my decree to anyone who would listen that Valentine’s Day was nothing more than a ploy to increase sales for flowers, candy, and greetings cards. Only Sweetest Day was worse in terms of sheer commercial transparency. I had many fellow travelers who agreed with me on this. Such was our passion against the alleged holiday that we all met on its very evening to commiserate over beers of our fellowship and solidarity. Well, almost all of us. Sometimes at the last-minute one or two would come up with a lame excuse and not join us — the rat bastards. Nonetheless, our devotion was strong and united.
My rancor for the holiday eased a bit as I got older, settled down, and eventually met someone who actually liked me. It was time to transition from being a stick-in-the-mud to at least try to partake with the whole candy and roses thing. My first wife was huge about birthdays, and I was expected to rise to the occasion for them. On Valentine’s Day she probably had unmet expectations each year, but I tried my best to get into the spirit as well as I could.
When my marriage ended, Valentine’s Day turned into mostly a reminder that I was alone and no longer with anyone. I stayed home and refrained from even going to my favorite watering hole because it would be packed with non-regulars, all out celebrating and sitting on my bar stool. Harrumph.
But with a new marriage to someone wonderful, I have officially transitioned over to the Red Side. I no longer am ambivalent about this one day of the year and its meaning. I am pleased and proud to shower my lovely wife with the same affection that I do on all the other 364 other days of the year. Except on this day I also stimulate the economy a bit. Our plans for today were to have had a picnic breakfast on the beach followed by a folk concert later this evening.
Sadly, Valentine’s Day is much like New Year’s Eve for a professional psychic. Gorgeous, if she’s able to, will no doubt get many calls today from lovelorn clients wishing to know about the intentions of a favored beau, when that handsome man who visits the office every afternoon and flirts will finally ask for a date, and the always difficult “is my husband/wife cheating on me?” On New Year’s Eve it had been our plan to start our evening at 4:00 or 5:00pm, but she kept getting calls clear up to 11:45 until I finally put my foot down and demanded that she stop. Sometimes I feel as I’m married to a family physician with people calling at all hours — except thankfully she actually gets paid for these calls.
Ironically, I ended up marrying a very practical woman who sees Valentine’s Day as a sweet day but nothing more than that. I was under orders not to buy roses today because they’re too expensive (I bought her tulips instead). She also felt that we should have dinner at home before the concert because every restaurant in town will be over-charging for their special dinners. Cupid apparently had a sardonic arrow aimed at me.
I don’t know what kind of Valentine’s Day I’ll end up having today. Instead of a Hallmark Holiday it may turn into a NyQuil Nirvana. But another way of showing your love is to take care of someone, and if there’s a true meaning for Valentine’s Day that probably expresses it the best. In the end it’s not about the cards, the flowers, or the candy it’s about the feelings you have for each other.
Zinc lozenge anyone?