I'd like to take a little break from the regularly scheduled excuses for not picking up thumb stitches and finishing that stupid mitten to address a very serious topic. It's that time of year again and we must be sure to remember the solemnity of the season.
I think that the best way to remind people of the occasion is to relay a conversation I had Friday afternoon as I was leaving school. In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably tell you that this is not an exact transcript. While it is primarily based on that exchange, it also includes elements from similar discussions throughout the day. Not that it really matters, but I like to be up front about these sorts of things, you know.
The Time: 2:35
The Place: The main office of A Very Happy Middle School
The Players: Ms. Sheep, Colleague #1 and Colleague #2
Ms. Sheep: I am leaving. I know it is early but I deserve it because I didn't kill the kid who is Gauged And Aerodynamic. He walked close to the line between life and death today but I didn't give in to my baser instincts.
Colleague #1: Nice job!
Colleague #2: Kudos!
MS: Thank you.
C#1: And have a nice vacation, too!
C#2: Yes! Enjoy!
MS: Vacations are good. Especially when they fall during The Most Exalted Of Holidays.
C#2: What's that you say?
MS: Sunday. You know...Sunday? It's Half-Priced Chocolate Eve!
C#1: Half-Priced...Oh! The day after Valentine's Day.
C#2: Aren't you clever? I think that should be a real holiday.
MS: It is. But you don't get to celebrate. Sorry.
C#1: Pray tell, why?
C#2: Yeah. What she said. The pray tell part.
MS: Half-Priced Chocolate Day (or "week" if you take it to extremes... and I do) is the single girl's holiday. It is the day we get to purchase some of the finest chocolates at reasonable prices and without guilt. We can stock up for months of single days and nights. It's our day. You get the day before.
C#1: That seems rather unfair.
C#2: Yeah. My husband doesn't remember to get me anything.
MS: You made your choice. You could have gone a different way with this. Besides, I seem to recall you saying something about him shoveling the driveway and helping you move the sofa. You went for brute strength. That is not my fault.
C#1: What about me? The voters of this great state opted to not recognize my civil union as a legal marriage. Don't I get something for that?
MS: I see your point. It's a valid argument. But no. Under the laws of Half-Priced Chocolate Day, you are legally married. It's an equal opportunity holiday and not subject to questionable/unethical TV spots aired prior to election day. For what it's worth, anyone in a relationship of more than 12 month's duration can't celebrate it either. It's for those of us who act as our own Valentines.
C#1: I have the right to buy chocolate whenever and wherever I want, you know.
C#2: Yes. As do I. You cannot stop me.
MS: Perhaps not. And I know it seems unfair. But I didn't invent the rules, you know. There are lots of things I didn't invent. Here's a partial list of those things:
1. I did not invent the Sad, Pitying Smile or the Accompanying Sorrowful Head Shake.
2. Nor was I the creator of the Hush Up Now, The Single Gal Is In The Room So Let's Stop Talking About Our Valentine's Day Plans game.
3. The words, "Don't worry, lots of people find their Special Someone at your age" were not first uttered by me.
4. I was also not the one who came up with, "I think it's so, um...great...how you live such an, um...independent life..."
5. I am not the great innovator who first conceived of The Blind Date As A Kind Thing To Give The Single Friend Who Has Everything Because Surely She Cannot Stand To Be Alone On Valentine's Day.
C#1: You've put a lot of thought into this, haven't you?
C#2: Yes. Lots of thought. When do you find time to teach?
MS: For the record, that last one has forced me to fake raging sinus infections and astronomically high fevers for the past twenty years. It's a great deal of work and takes away from the thinking of important thoughts.
C#1: Well...enjoy your winter break. However you celebrate it.
C#2: Yes. Enjoy. However you do that.
MS: Thank you. And I trust that our paths will not be crossing at the clearance tables next week.
In closing, let me say this. We The Single People are generally good sports about this day. Whether our singular nature is by fate or (as in my case) by choice, we have a sense of humor. Further, we maintain that jovial attitude when Half-Priced Chocolate Day, our holiest day of the year, rolls around. We don't deny others a bit of the bounty. But please remember that those crumpled, heart shaped boxes mean more to us than the shiniest of diamonds and that they smell sweeter than the long stemmed roses currently gracing tables throughout the world. We probably won't fight to the death over the matter. We are not likely to resort to hand to hand combat over dark chocolate truffles. We are civilized beings in spite of our somewhat misunderstood status.
But you can't be certain of anything. It's hard to say how these things will go. I'll leave you with this warning. Should you be of a mind to get yourself a some of that discounted candy tomorrow, please remain alert. The partnered among you are obvious, especially on February 15th. You have a look about you and are often sporting new jewelry. If you happen to be reaching for the last box of the good stuff, be sure to look both ways first. You just never know.
This may be the face you see coming at you.
If this is the case, drop the dark chocolate truffles and proceed to the nearest exit. It's not worth it. There's always next year...
Happy Valentine's Day!