‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be Mine

I just replaced my old cell phone. I was due a new one, so it has nothing to do with the fact that I sat on it. Anyway, the directions say:
1) Turn off your old cell phone.
2) Call to activate your new cell phone.
3) Turn on your new cell phone.
This presents a problem if you have no land line. You find yourself sitting in your living room, reading and re-reading the directions, wondering how you are supposed to call with both cell phones turned off. Eventually, you light the old phone on fire and send smoke-signals.
The take-away from this is that burning phones smell horrific. It also illustrates why we get so hung up on having a Valentine. A Valentine is a person who is handy with a cell phone when you need one.
We all need a Valentine.
When I think of Valentines, I think of those elementary school shoe boxes, decorated to within an inch of their lives. Those were where it was at. They were stunning.
Covered in pink, purple and red construction paper with white doilies, cut-out hearts and sequins, those boxes were worthy of a whole classroom of friendship. Making them was the best part – possibly even better than the sound they made when filled with cartoon-character cards.
Remember? You’d put your Valentine box on your desk, and then go deliver your own cards to your classmates. You gave a Valentine to each kid, making really sure the right kid got the right greeting. Politely friendly for some, cautiously swoony for others.
There were also cupcakes in the afternoon. Those were good times.
And then things got weird. There were boyfriends and un-boyfriends and anticipation and disappointment. The days leading up to February 14 were fraught with hope – especially during single or uncertain relationship years. Who was going to come out of hiding and save the day? Who was going to get off his duff and step up to the plate?
I prefer not to remember those years. I am not proud of what a dork I was.
I mean, I’m still a dork – but I’m a different dork now. I like to think that if Chris had not been home to make fun of me for not knowing where the power button was on my new phone, I would have driven down the street to ask a friend to make fun of me.
Wait, that didn’t come out right.
The thing is, those Valentine boxes were great because they were completely jammed with notes from people who were – in some way, shape or form – friends. At some point, we put our (often imagined) romantic relationships ahead of our relationship with humankind, at which point we stopped getting afternoon cupcakes.
I had a voicemail from a friend a few minutes ago. We hadn’t talked for a bit and she said she’d been thinking we should meet up because she missed hanging out. She said she figured she should call and ask me to be her Valentine.
Remembering those piles of construction paper hearts and Hong Kong Phooey cards, I called her back and said yes.
“I have to warn you,” she said, “I’m kind of a ho. I’ve asked like 30 people to be my Valentine today.”
Which, if elementary school is any indication, is exactly how it should be done.

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