Making Peace With Valentine’s

Today, as I was waiting for the subway train, I was standing next to a magazine stand when a woman asked the vendor how much a bottle of water was.

He replied, $1.25. But then he corrected himself. Sorry, he said. $2.00.

“Well which is it? $1.25 or $2.00?!,” with all this nasty attitude.

“$2. It’s the big one.”

“Bigger than what? It doesn’t look much bigger.”

Then she went on a rant for like 2 minutes. This is BULLSHIT. Called the vendor a racist. She’s gonna call the cops. On and on and on.

In my head, I was like…what a miserable, miserable wench. Seriously, you’re going to make this much trouble over 75 cents? It made me sad that flesh and bone could be wasted on this ball of negativity.

On the ride home, I really thought about this woman. And the truth is, she’s not really angry about the 75 cents, she’s just an angry person. In other words, she chooses to be a miserable wench because it’s what she knows. Could she have just paid the $2 and walked away? Of course. But she wanted to raise shit because angry is what she is, more than what she knows.

What a lovely Valentine’s story right? Here’s my point.

I’ve made it no secret how much I hate Valentine’s. My biggest problem with it is that it’s an exclusionary holiday (This is how Jews must feel on Christmas.)

It wouldn’t nearly be as bad if on February 15th, we celebrated “Singles Day” complete with its own patron saint. Instead of a fancy dinner at a restaurant, local pubs would give away half off tequila shots on the condition that you were single. But no such “holiday” exists.

When I sat down to write today’s post, I checked back to last year’s Valentine’s Day post and I was surprised to find that I had already written what I planned to write today.

Dinner for one, leftover chicken and rice? Check

Depressing call from mother? Check

Single? Check

Bitter? Check

It was all the same. And suddenly the thought of the woman on the subway platform came to me.

Nobody wants to be lonely, especially not on Valentine’s. And for all the “sucks to be single” jokes that we hear today, there’s almost always a slight hint of pain behind the barbs.

We can’t help the way we feel. A day for couples will invariably be a celebration for some, and a tactless reminder for others. But how we choose to manifest these feelings is entirely up to us.

That’s what I owned up to this year. No, I can’t shake off the loneliness or the bit of sadness that comes with it. But I don’t have to have a meal by myself watching Anderson Cooper in my pajamas. This dinner alone can easily be a night with the boys, this bottle of Pinot Noir can easily be a happier alcoholic beverage. A Pabst Blue Ribbon!

I don’t have to begrudge silly, doting couples for wanting a day to celebrate their relationship. Relationships take work, and they deserve a day to be recognized.

I choose not to be a miserable wench today. Lonely is what I know, not what I am. I’ve made that decision and you know, it’s like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders. Valentine’s, as it turns out, is not half bad.

Now if you’ll excuse me…

I’ve got to get back to my chicken.


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