Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million

The V-day...

I've got nothing against valentine's day. I think the idea of a holiday to remind us to tell the people that we love that we do is a sweet idea.

I do, however, have a problem with the execution of the idea.

I went shopping last night. At 5.

There is much that is automatically wrong with that, and I didn't expect not to have to fight crowds. Even in little poh-dunk Fairbanks, you don't go grocery shopping at 5 PM.

What appalled me was the masses - yes masses! - of humanity in front of the valentine's displays. Crowds of people clustered in front of the cards, frantically reading whatever cards they could reach, shoulder to shoulder and several people deep, so that I had to creep through with my cart saying mildly 'excuse me, excuse me, excuse ME' while they reached over each other and crowded together with their own carts. The candy displays were picked clean in places, dazzled looking men holding handfuls of chocolates comparing prices and the beauty of the boxes and cross looking women swooping down to grab that last sale package of pink M&Ms. Moms with kids selecting between the last boxes of cheap commercial valentine's cards - Winnie the Pooh or Cinderella? - and picking up massive packs of smaller packages of conversation hearts. Clusters of overpriced roses and carnations were at the end of all the aisles and in buckets around every display item that allowed them. Mylar, heart-shaped balloons sprinkled the whole store - they looked like some kind of bold new fruit in the produce section.

That's the part of Valentine's day I don't particularly like.

Don't get me wrong, I like flowers and candy and cards and expressions of affection. Mylar balloons are a blast with the cat, and I happen to love conversation hearts (especially the white ones). But don't they mean more if they are random and unexpected, not obligated by some arbitrary date? I think about the sheer number of cards that are going to be tossed out in the next month (will people even write personal messages in them? Or do they just sign the canned Hallmark statements?), the number of mylar balloons that will go limp over the next weeks, and the over-packaged candy that will go stale or bust diets, and I feel dirty.

I came home with only groceries, though I had thought to maybe pick up a gift when I went into the store.

"I didn't get you anything," I told my husband, after I related my shopping experience and expressed my disgust. "I hope you know I still love you anyway."

I'm sure that he does - I tell him every day. And you know... even if he doesn't show up with cards and flowers and chocolate tonight (I'm rather hoping he doesn't!), I'll know he still loves me, too. We'll probably still make a celebration of the day - maybe I'll break out some candles and have some wine poured when he gets home. I don't mind that there's a holiday to remind us to tell each other how we feel. I do mind that the holiday has turned into an event to obligate us to tell each other with things.

I'm not getting any of you anything, either. I hope you know I still love you, too.

PS: Yes, I know how ironic it is for a commercial printer and maker of cards to feel this way, and I'm quite sure that someone somewhere is sending a goon to take away my scaly-scaly capitalist membership card right now...

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