Good evening, friends. It's been awhile since I've been here. So, how fitting that I revisit at the time when every store is smothered in Valentine's Day garb? I'm sure you can guess my opinion on the holiday. However, it may surprise you.
What is love? (Besides a thrilling 1990's hit by Haddaway that was incessantly played on B96 throughout my childhood, that is.) Valentine's day brings to mind this question. We are ransacked with red and pink materials as soon as we walk into a CVS simply to purchase a bottle of Vitamin Water that exclaim "I love you!" and "You're my everything!" and "I wouldn't be able to function without you!" (That would be a frightening balloon/card to receive. I'd feel as if I were a pacemaker.) Yet, does it really take one day to tell those in our lives that we love them? Do we need to distribute sugar candy hearts declaring "You're mine!" or "I want to B with U"! The bad grammar alone infuriates me. I'd love to distribute something called "Realistic Hearts", which, I do believe exist somewhere, so I cannot take full credit for this idea. I do think it would be hilarious to receive a candy heart that said something like "He went to Crazy Carl's Pawn Shop on Division, not to Jared!" I do realize the heart would have to be the size of a Snickers bar to fit this on there, but I'd love it nonetheless.
Being "a single", as I was just so nicely reminded while filling out student loan applications, Valentine's day can be a bit challenging. I mean, the somewhat nauseating Facebook posts that declare "I would die without my boo boo, I love you to death sweetie pie schmoopy pants" or "I am in love with love because I love love and I love you soooooooo much(insert 14 emoticons here)" can get a bit, um, old. It's also old to see girls post (sorry girls, I am busting you out here, and I may be guilty too, so oh well) lyrics from some Avril Lavigne song declaring how badly you've been screwed over by your recent ex. On that note, I also believe that Facebook and all cell phone service should be shut down on Valentine's day to avoid any awkward ex-significant other contact. Shut it DOWN.
However, I do feel lucky because I have love from many others in my life that may not be in the conventional way.
My grandma Dorothy, who I miss every single day and who would be the number one supporter of this blog if she was still here with us, said a wonderful quote about love one time when I was an angst filled teenager without a boyfriend on Valentine's day. As my friends were getting little notes on their lockers or getting cards and flowers in class, I was getting myself a bagel and diet coke from the cafeteria. As I complained to my grandma, she told me exactly this:
"Amush, love is not a note or a flower, or some card. Love is getting up early, getting your grandpa his cup of coffee, and then turning on the Price is Right right at 10 o'clock so he wouldn't miss any of it."
To me, this is very profound. And, I agree. A few years back, I had the "classic" Valentine's day. Flowers, dinner at Rosebud, yadda, yadda, yadda. Did I feel a warmth wash over me and as if I were suddenly complete? No, I did not. And, I actually felt bad for my boyfriend at the time for the forced effort he probably felt he had to put forth to make Valentine's day seem complete. Flowers and a filet from Rosebud are lovely, yes....but I think love is shown in many other ways. And I think we should celebrate it. Whether it's from your significant other, friends, family....love is love. Here are some examples that come to mind.
*Calling someone who shows up when they are in the middle of preparing what is basically an astrophysics final, telling them to pick you up three blocks away, and having them take you to Taco Bell at 3am, when you proceed to eat 3 bites of your $15 order.
*Sitting around with a group of your best friends on a Sunday afternoon discussing life and all its oddities and being happy that you have each other.
*Taking someone to the shady tow lot on California and staying with them for hours while waiting for their car to be removed from the impound.
*Sitting in Chicago Bears section 326 with your loyal superfans with your guest donning an opposing team's jersey.
*Staying every night with someone in the hospital when they are sick to make sure they know that someone is there.
*The love that Borat felt for Pamela. (please pronounce Pah-Mel-Ah)
*Someone telling you that you look beautiful even though you look like Gary Busey after a rough night out.
*Answering the phone at 2am for a friend who is struggling with issues that are too difficult to comprehend for most.
*Someone listening to your call complaining that you are stuck in rush hour on 290 and you want to poke yourself repeatedly in the eye with a sharp utencil...for the 856th time. Not new news.
*Listening to country music for an hour drive with someone even though we are quite north of the Mason-Dixon line.
*Receiving a box big enough to fit an IMAX sized flatscreen television filled with Zebra Cakes and Twinkies when you are away in central Illinois at college to make sure you are properly fed.
*A text message saying "I hope you have a great day. You're the best." For absolutely no reason.
So, I guess my point is, love does not necessarily have to show up in the form of candy and flowers. It shows up in many different forms. A red balloon stating it is not necessary. All of the above go a big step further, if you ask me. Therefore, this Valentine's day, appreciate the good eggs in your life, whoever they may be. And maybe take them to Taco Bell to show them that appreciation. Nachos go a long way. Way longer than a Hallmark card. For me, at least.