I haven’t given a lot of thought to this particular holiday for a long, long time. Mostly Sandra and I wake up in the morning, realize it’s Valentines Day, smile at each other, and get on with what needs to be done on that day. We pay more attention to birthdays, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and Christmas. Valentines Day is an odd sort of holiday because for the last decade we’ve never needed an excuse to be extra nice to each other.
Oh, certainly there have been days when we’ve needed to be extra nice. We’ve hurt each others’ feelings from time to time, and we take care to patch things up as soon as possible afterwards. Waiting for a special day to do so would be patently absurd. “Happy Anniversary, honey! I’m sorry I made fun of your Mom six months ago, so here’s some chocolate.”
Before getting married, Valentines Day was a holiday I never had someone to celebrate with. Sure, I had girlfriends, some of whom I even dated “with intent,” but through some conspiracy of the calendar, the first Valentines Day that actually fell DURING one of those relationships, as opposed to BETWEEN them, was in 1993. I think I may have proposed marriage to Sandra on or about that time. It’s a blur, really. We got married in August of that year. It’s been over 12 years since I went on a date with anyone other than her (and that last non-Sandra date was pretty pathetic, since I’d just met Sandra, but already had this particular date planned. I probably owe whatever-her-name-was an apology, because we wrapped things up early and I hurried off to see this Other Girl I’d Just Met. How rude!)
I have this memory of a Valentines Day in 1990, or thereabouts. I was walking through University Mall in Orem, Utah, and I bought myself a plant. I decided it would help me be less bitter about a holiday in which to celebrate loneliness if I bought myself a plant EVERY year on Valentines Day. The tradition never got off the ground, and that particular plant died a couple of years later.
The only thing that got me thinking about Valentines Day was an article about how the Saudi Government is taking extreme pains to put down any attempt by its citizens to celebrate the holiday. Ah, theofascism, how unsubtle are thy dictates. As if they don’t have other problems they can be sniffing out. I mean, you have to work really, really hard to make chocolate explode.
Enough with the politics. All I’m saying is that I read that article, and realized that people were trying, under pain of prison, to celebrate a holiday that I couldn’t care less about. I mean, I don’t even know where to put the apostrophe.