Tuesday, February 14, 2006

be mine

Yeah, be mine, sweet Valentine’s Day, be mine. Make it special. Got cash? Boil a lobster, pop a cork. Dirt poor? Shoot pool, go home, call a friend. Spend the effort. You are alone? No, wait, there are children out there who love this day full of hearts. Be with them. Or with a lover. Or an ex. Or with a pink cosmo and TV coverage of the Olympics, romanticizing winter and sport. Wake up, wake up, I am talking to you, don’t look the other way!

I asked in class today (50 bright faces, ready to learn even more about dissolving relationships, for that is what I teach): who is doing something fun and Valentiney today? One person raises his hand. Oh come on, you others, you’re lying! Shaking heads. He’s married – someone pipes in. Okay, how many are married here? Seven hands go up. Do six object to the Hallmark celebration of the passage of half of February?

This day, make it bright red and sappy. Remember when the girls were little and we had to help them make cut out hearts for their classmates? God, I hated that project, having no patience for crafts at all, me, who could not ever do scrapbooking because it all looks so painfully tedious and sticky. All those hearts.

And then, in the evening, out of their backpacks would come – endless little hearts, all made by Mothers Who Care (if you’re a father who made Valentine’s day hearts for the class, forgive me, we have not met). I note who made their child sign his or her own. I did. Stiff upbringing my girls had. Solid European manners. Sign the goddamn card already! I am surprised they did not grow up to hate this day. They don’t hate it. If they had been in my class, they would have raised their hands. Both of them, engaged in something fun and Valentiney.

Yesterday, on my way home from a meeting, I walked through our local zoo. I want to photograph polar bears, wrapped in each others’ fuzzy paws, just like I see on blogs and in valentine’s day cards.

But no. I see only one bear. He looks around. Dreamily. Is there a polar bear sweetie out there to eat kegs of fish with? No? Eyes close, he rests, basking in the faint sun that is February this year. Happy-looking. (Though what do I know about Polar bears, especially those in zoos.)

Do well by another and by yourself today. Half of February is over and done with. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Madison Feb 06 073
anyone want to eat fish heads with me?

Madison Feb 06 077
no? okay.