Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Story

I am not ashamed to admit it: I love Valentine's Day. And no, I don't mean the non-commercial, organic, too-hip-for-love-songs kind of Valentine's Day where you smirk at all the silly little people and their bourgeois customs while hosting an anti-Valentine's Day Bergman Film Festival party. I love the whole, ridiculous concept-- the wilting, overpriced roses and the battery-operated greeting cards that play Elvis songs and the tacky red lace Fredrick's of Hollywood lingerie and the big Mylar balloons in the shape of puckered lips. I think Peppy le Pew had the right idea about romance. He was undaunted, overly sentimental, and absolutely sincere. We can be cool about music and art and independent films -- but let's allow ourselves to get a little goofy about love.

I know everyone likes to complain about how Valentine's Day is just another creation by retailers to force people to buy stuff they don't need. It's an event probably orchestrated by restaurant owners, florists and jewelers. Fine. I suppose all of that is true. But what I like about Valentine's Day is that it is the one day out of the year when it's okay to believe in the hyperbolic, overzealous, madcap potential of being in love. It's one day where you can declare yourself unabashedly to someone, with full societal approval and every corny trick in the book at your disposal. There's a reason Cupid shoots arrows instead of making rational speeches. Sometimes we need a bit of a shove to make a connection. Valentine's Day is that big push -- a day where the brooding guy finds the courage to hold his boom box aloft and play a love song to the girl he can't live without.

I don't know if the two people in this photo were a romantic couple or just two friends sharing a coffee break at Starbucks. But today, on Valentine's Day, I choose to believe they fell madly in love over those cappuccinos... that they spent that afternoon finding out they both liked cherry pop tarts, John Fowles novels and Miles Davis; that they each thought The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was overrated; that they both confessed to singing in the shower and sometimes singing cheesy 70s disco songs. I choose to believe that today, when they realized they had each emailed the other the very same Neruda poem, they both felt that happy/scared/exhilarated/anxious/wondrous/thankful feeling of being alive that comes when you realize you might be falling for someone.

Happy heart day, everyone.

14 comments:

Yakpate said...

Wow, what a valentine post! It's good to stop and celebrate the one emotion that transcends the dark side of our world. The Beatles said it well:

All you need is love
All you need is love,
All you need is love.
Love is all you need.

altadenahiker said...

Oolala, my leetle french croissant...

Jilly said...

Oh la la - you've got it bad! I love to think this couple have just fallen in love but looking at their body language I think he's sitting back too far in his chair. On the other hand, I think she might be into him. On the other hand, I'm probably totally wrong and you are right.

Ever the cynic...but no, not really. Have a great Valentine's Laurie. Hearts and flowers and violins...

Petrea said...

I'm pretty sure nothing else I read or hear today will make me laugh as hard as "There's a reason Cupid shoots arrows instead of making rational speeches."

I believe in love and I know it can be had when people are honest with each other. I don't think all the mylar is necessary, but I see your point and I've never heard it made so well before.

ben wideman said...

Happy valentines day Laurie! Great post.

Cafe Observer said...

After all that, they're brother & sister!?

A very B & W way of looking at a day usually viewed through colorful rose/heart tinted glasses.

dbdubya said...

Nice post and nice commments, Laurie. But, I'm one of the cynics. A very good friend who's got one of the best marriages I know doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day. When I asked how he pulled that one off, he was serious when he said that he and his wife had a discussion about it years ago. They asked themselves the question, "Why should we celebrate our love one day a year?" So, every day is Valentines Day. Now I know the cynics among you will say this guy simply got out of the hassle and expense of another retail-made holiday. But, knowing them well for 20 years, they truly are role models for a happy, healthy, and loving relationship. And, Ms. Dubya has bought into the same theory so we avoid the crowds and have a nice dinner at home with friends. Sorry Laurie, but no mylar balloons in the Dubya household today, although the roses in the back yard are only a few weeks away from their first bloom of the year.

As for the photo, I tend to agree with Jilly. His body language says he's not interested. Could be brother and sister, or as Jilly suggest, she's interested in him but he's checking out the girl walking towards him, just outside the shot.

Happy Valentines Day, Laurie. I hope Jon takes you somewhere special, you don't wait too long for a table, and he buys one of those roses with the broken stem from the lady who walks by with an armload and says, "would you like to buy a rose for the pretty lady?"

Palm Axis said...

I'm hanging out with Pasadena Adjacent today

Did you write this post after having breakfast served to you in bed? Me and the Mr have 24 years hard time under our collective belt. No cigar but Ramona sent me a card with her usual "guess who". It has a cat and hearts on it. My post will scare you but do check out the link on the first comment.

dbdubya said...

Palm Axis - I'm not sure if your post is directed to Laurie or me, but since Laurie always posts very early in the morning, I'm guessing it's for me. If so, how quick you are to stereotype. I made my post shortly after fixing breakfast for the Mrs. just like I do every weekend, followed by cleaning up the dishes.

Hard time under the belt? Many ways to interpret that comment, especially on Valentines Day!

Kim said...

Your post and Petrea's has me thinking, Laurie. Love is what you make it, what you invest in it, what you bring to it, what you let it be. Most of all, its a decision you mutually make and stick to. I choose to love you, to enjoy you, to be with you, to appreciate you. "Cherish is the word," as the old song says. So is Chemistry. That's the tangible yet unexplainable part of a relationship that sparks up the amazing heights and and depths of love and creates an amazing bond on some otherworldly level of strength. My love could tell me the truth about myself and still kiss me into bliss and beyond. . .all with the same lips, or most times without a word passing them, what went unspoken except by his wonderful eyes.

Happy VDay to you and Jon. Hope you enjoy it to the max!
-Kim
Seattle Daily Photo

Hilda said...

Lovers or friends, doesn't matter — I LOVE your post!

My husband and I never go out during Valentine's Day because the traffic in the metro is horrendous, and he's been a curmudgeon about the whole thing, but this year, I got him to agree to keep the wreaths on the doors which I decorated with glittery hearts. And we watched the sweet, poignant, mushy "Slumdog Millionaire" last night. I hope to progress in his training next year! :D

Shanna said...

Thank you, thank you, Laurie. Valentine's Day is indeed a time to say those things we think and feel but are so hard to say. Yes, yes to it all!!!!

USelaine said...

What a sweetie you are! This is the antidote to all the newspaper features that came out today, about brain-centers releasing hormones, and comparisons to drug addiction, and how hard it is to make a legal case against erotomanic stalkers, etc.

Laurie said...

Hey all,

I'm too tired tonight to properly respond to all of your comments. I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day -- with at least one over-the-top gushy sentimental something involved.

Until tomorrow...