14 February 2007

Stop and Buy Goods (On a Snowy Afternoon)

snow1Today’s obviously going to be a snow day in my neck of the woods, about a foot’s worth having drifted through over yesterday’s course. We had been lucky until now: New York by far got the worse of it, but yesterday we finally got the overage. The image you see at the right is the view across the street first thing this morning as I made the digging out. Looks more like a Jackson Pollock painting than anything, the snow specking the air like so much asbestos. The timing couldn’t be apter, I guess, for all this mantle and squall. If any day demands extensive shoveling, it’s Valentine’s Day.

Yes, it’s that day, when the thoughts of young women turn to romance, and the thoughts of young men turn (or are turned, by force) toward dulcification. It’s the international day of appeasement, prostration and fury-nullification, when men of a committed condition wish they weren’t and dutifully do all the voodoo they’re damned to do, simply because they’ll be even damneder if they don’t. So arrangements are made, frivolities are bought, and obeisances are declared, even if the man in question is the most churlish, miserly and otherwise taciturn bastard imaginable. There’s no creature quite so pallid as a man in a mall on Valentine’s afternoon; he makes the future-facing Scrooge seem positively sanguine by comparison. There's also no creature quite so uncomfortable: watch him in the music shops or the lingerie shops or the various boutiques of feminine disposition; not only lost, he'd rather run an errand to buy tampons than have to trudge through those vicinities most certainly beyond his normal domain.

Have you ever watched--- or much worse, been--- a man searching for a card twenty minutes before closing? It’s not a pretty sight. Rarely if ever again will you witness such a chiasmatic monologue of maybes and that’s-no-goods. You’d pity him if only you could stop yourself from giggling hysterically.

You also know, of course, how this scenario ends, with our utterly defeated flounderer grabbing a card with flowers on the cover and a half-dozen lines of vomitous verse on the recto, lines he wouldn’t recite if Torquemada himself came back from the grave to compel him. But he gives it anyway, usually with a gentle smile and maybe a quiet Yeah, yeah, praying with the solemnity of a dying man to please, oh please, let that card pass from him sans comment. Cynical, you say? Surely, but you do know this guy. Many of you have quite probably been him; some you may be him in just a few hours. I, for one, will be praying for him, whenever I can finally stop giggling.

So "Happy" Valentine’s Day to all. Now I’m off to do some more shoveling of my own.

And piles to throw before I sleep....

AFTERTHOUGHT: Check out the Wikipedia entry on the word "love." It tickles YT to no end to see the words "love (disambiguation)" coupled together. There’s a delightful Buddhist riddle in there somewhere....

AFTERAFTERTHOUGHT: RK reminds us of the better conception of St. Valentine's Day here.


nic said...

Jaysus -thanks for that depressing take on the male experience of Valentine’s Day. The flip side isn’t any better –try expecting the lame card and chocolates from shoppers drug mart and then having to pretend not to be disappointed when they’re handed over at the last minute. He’ll shrug and say he tried but couldn’t find anything to express his true feelings and he naturally expects to be given a pass -because after all "it’s the thought that counts" (even when as little thought as possible has been put into it!).

Send your prayers to those poor sods –my sympathies are with the ladies!

Dr J said...

Ah, the ever-constant grading of the quality of gifts (or "tribute," as they're more accurately and collectively known). Damned and damneder; it's the perfect crucible of misery.

Gee, how I don't miss the invidious (but nonetheless compulsory) ignominy of Valentine's Day.

And, FWIW, on those rare, Patrick-Swayze-in-a-tolerable-performance-Rare, instances in which I've received anything at all for Vanquishment Day, I'd comfortably assure you that the lame card and the Shoppers chox would have been very much preferable.

zelda said...

Hey, you know I'm a cynic, but you also know that I think guys are far more romantic than women so ... I don't know who all those sad saps are ... Also, the guys totally deserve something on V-day! If the woman is so "into it" then she should get into it and do something. That way it can be fun and silly and no one's left hanging.

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