b Papa Dog's Blog: I Am a Miserable Valentine’s Failure

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Monday, February 14, 2005

I Am a Miserable Valentine’s Failure

I used to be pretty good at Valentine’s Day. I remember one year in the old apartment I bought Mama Dog a box of Godiva chocolates and hid each separately wrapped confection in a different spot around the premises. I made a treasure hunt of it. When she came home I gave her a note containing a clue to the location of the first chocolate. The first chocolate was wrapped in paper giving a clue to the location of the second, und so weiter. It took her a couple of hours to find them all (some of the clues were kind of abstruse. Recondite, even. It was fun. We were frolicsome and young(er).

Since then...well, V-day just seems more and more to fall in the midst of a crowded season. Mama Dog’s birthday’s in September, then our anniversary is in November, then there’s Christmas and New Year’s, and then Valentine’s is sandwiched betwixt my two big extracurricular projects; the annual Bernardo conspiracy in late January and the Oscar pool in late February. With only so many brain cells to go around, V-day has become a poor stepchild in a large family.

Mama Dog did the smart thing and ordered early. She got me a lovely box of cookies from Harry and David.* They arrived about a week ago, which seemed awfully early, but I rationed them and I’m going to eat the last one tonight. I should have done something like that. One of my old standby tactics has been to place reminders of special events a week or a month early in my desk calendar at work. Last Monday, I had a note on my calendar that said: “Valentine’s Day next Monday.” Somehow, that doesn’t seem to work anymore, and hasn’t for a couple of years. If I don’t take action that very day, general busy-ness ensues and it doesn’t get done.

So it happened that I found myself exiting the BART station this evening, stepping out into the dark of night and wet of light rain, with no better plan in mind than stopping off at Bloomies and getting a bouquet of something or other. This is how bad it was: I wasn’t even sure what flowers would be the right ones to get. Mama Dog changes her favourite colour and her favourite flower with some regularity, rotating them so they won’t get stale. Sage green was her favourite colour. Lavender was her favourite flower. In 1999. How about now? Uh... Well, the digital camera she bought a while back just had to be blue, but I’m not sure how sure a sign that is. She favours Fisher Price for baby furniture, I know that. She likes generic Kirkland in bulk for baby wipes. Is it possible our priorities have shifted slightly from romance?

Anyway, Bloomies was impossible. There was a little throng of other pathetic last-minute swains and maidens packed under the awning. I shifted from foot to foot, trying to get close enough to read the names of the flowers in case anything sounded familiar. I kept getting bumped back out into the rain. Everything was picked over and what was left looked wilted and dismal. I liked the idea of heather, but the remainders were scraggly. The lilies probably looked good that morning but were by now past their prime. Everyone was picking their own flowers, because the help was busy at the cash register. There was a line about twelve deep. Hopeless. A bearded man was hoarding the orange roses. A cleavage-y blonde was narrating her selections to her fellow, who flowered by the wall. Was she letting him know what she was getting him or letting him know what he was getting her? I had no chance. I walked down the street to Market Hall in search of inspiration.

I had a vague thought of chocolate, but that made no sense. We’re both dieting. Mama Dog’s trying to lower her cholesterol. I should try to kill her for Valentine’s Day? Well, maybe something sweet but with fewer servings than a box of chocolates. Ice cream? The selection was thin. My eye was caught by the Godiva chocolate with chocolate hearts. The hearts are occasion-appropriate, but that’s the ice cream I always eat. She’d probably think I was buying dessert for myself and pretending it was a gift for her. Then I spotted the lemon sorbet. That seemed the best compromise. She loves lemon desserts, and it is, as the packaging trumpet, “Naturally fat free!” I bought a pint and headed home.

I got about two blocks away when the thought hit me: “What the fuck am I doing bringing home a fat free dessert on Valentine’s day?” I stopped at Wally’s World Market and got a Klondike Giant Ice Cream Sandwich. At least I’d offer a little touch of decadence. At least I wouldn’t come home empty-handed.

When I got home, I immediately confessed my wretchedness, which is often the best strategy. I told Mama Dog about Bloomies and about my little selection of next-best things. She made a face at the sorbet, but still pronounced the thought sweet.

“Oh well,” I said. “At least I can still coast on the anniversary present.”

“Yes,” she agreed, “you can.” A lucky guy am I.
*The cookies in the link aren’t the same ones, which are heart-shaped for Valentine’s and seem to have been taken off the site as of tonight; but they’re similar.


Post a Comment

<< Home