Archive for February, 2014

Valentine’s Day wrap-up

February 17, 2014

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, central Virginia got walloped by a Nor’easter.  I love these types of storms because of their excess:  all conditions come together perfectly so that nature can offer its perfunctory “screw you” to the human world of busy-ness.

Having grown up in the Midwest, I’m no stranger to big, serious snows, but it’s especially fun to have 16 inches drop in a state that’s otherwise considered to be “Southern.”  I appreciate how everyone except for the New Jersey transplants and beer drinkers with 4 wheel drives take the next day or so off after a big snow storm, acknowledging the danger in unplowed driveways and secondary roads and acquiescing to a slower, saner pace.  The result is a serene absence of ambient traffic sounds that complements the stilled and whitened world.

I suppose Valentine’s Day was a wash for those who were looking forward to a Friday night out.  The only sympathy worth offering would be for the restaurant servers who lost some much needed income.  Of course being blasé about Valentine’s Day is de rigueur:  the Hallmark “holiday” we most like to hate.  Hateful thoughts are a completely acceptable reaction to the romantic claptrap that inundates us from day one.  It seems the one myth everyone’s willing to cling to when so many others collapse from dryrot.  While I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve believed life is sweeter when shared with another, now that I’ve begun thinking of the day as my Anti-Birthday, Valentine’s Day has become more enjoyable.  It’s true:  a 180 degree rotation of the Earth around the Sun will bring us to the day of my birth.

Being born in August, summer seems my birthright, so February inevitably finds me at my lowest.  The first two weeks of February 2014 seemed especially bad as writer’s block whispered I had nothing of value to offer.  I can’t say that I’ve successfully countered that voice, but somehow, the day after Valentine’s, it shut up.  I think part of that silencing resulted from a gift I received on Valentine’s from my ex.  Not the single yellow rose or the chocolate bar or the small bottle of Knob’s Creek, but the recognition of what a jerk he is as I finally got him to admit in a round-about manner (and with no apology) that he had stolen from me just like he’d stolen from others over the years.

Four and a half years ago I’d kicked him out because I hadn’t liked his fungible ethics, but somehow I thought that because of all our years together – first as friends, then as lovers, and later friends again – he wouldn’t take something that was mine.  Over all those years, it took a lot of energy not to see him as he is, but just like that nor’easter, conditions this Valentine’s Day were perfectly aligned:  I’d come to realize how my fear of loneliness pushed me into accepting people who didn’t belong in my life.  When he called that evening to hear my response to his present, he was certain that a gesture would once again mask his character’s deficiencies.  But my vision had cleared.

With traffic dimmed for President’s weekend, the world still quietly blanketed, a small reminder of Valentine’s romantic haze started the day:  a sunrise suffused the sky and snow-covered earth with a rose-tinted hue.  My Anti-Birthday’s best present:  a promise to love myself a whole lot better.