Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Just in case anyone (other than Dag, of course) was worried, I am still alive.
And I feel much better. Better enough to write about the nicer parts of yesterday that weren't foiled by microbes.
Breakfast out was nice, poison notwithstanding, cause it was right on the waterfront in a nice part of town. Since it was a weekday morning, there weren't too many people there, and we more or less had the run of the place.
The only people who seemed to be out and about at that hour in that part of town were women walking puffy pomerianian dogs. I don't understand the appeal of walking something so small and white and fluffy that looks like a cloud with legs, and is just about as substantial as one. I suppose they're convenient dogs for downtown apartments, but still. If you're going to get a dog, why not get one that at least has a bit of personality? Little dogs like Wally are just fine, since they're delightfully amusing rather than wimpy-looking.
The Boy and I managed to borrow the car (my family has two: a nicer, 1995-era green Volvo sedan, and a crappier, less reliable beige 1980 Volvo station wagon. Yes, we are Volvo people) and set off for Lighthouse Park, where we were hoping to do some rock-climbing. We got custody of the old station wagon (needless to say), and it was a bit creaky. The Boy said it felt like driving a boat (or a tank, I've only driven that car once and didn't find it quite that onerous), but it served us well and we didn't encounter any mechanical problems. When we got downtown, however, we got stuck in gridlock traffic, and just as the light changed with enough time to FINALLY let us through the intersection, this black guy in a suit ran out into traffic directly in front of our car. I yelped "pedestrian!" and the Boy slammed on the brakes, just in time. I turned around to watch the guy cross the street and suddenly realised that I recognized him. I turned back to the Boy and said: "You totally almost ran over Daniel Igali!" (those of you who are unfamiliar with Canada's Olympic heroes can follow the link). It was a funny moment, and one the Boy will not be living down anytime soon.
We made it to the park, and it was beautiful there, but it took us ages to find suitable cliffs for climbing and by that point it was getting late and we had run out of time to set up the ropes, so instead we sat on the rocks overlooking the point and drank ginger beer and hung out for a while. It was lovely, and it reminded me once again why I don't buy into the Valentine's Day cynicism that seems to be so en vogue these days. Why be bitter about cliches when they're so easy to transcend? And why not take a day to go on adventures with someone you love? Or with the people you love? My parents have always planned a dinner for friends and relatives, where we have a great meal and chocolate fondue and exchange little presents. That way, no one feels left out, and no one feels the need to go on long bitter rants about how Valentine's Day was invented by Hallmark to make money. That's just a lot of bullshit. Read my comment on Rick's blog for if you want more of my thoughts on the subject.
The fact is that it's easy to avoid the commercialization of holidays like Valentine's Day. How hard is it to pick up some markers and make a bloody card instead of buying one? How hard is it to take the day off and do something out of the ordinary? How hard is it to call someone you haven't talked to in ages and tell them you're still their friend even though you've lost touch? How hard is it to cook dinner instead of going out? (Easy, and it might save you a lot of food poisoning!) How hard is it to NOT buy a bunch of stuffed animals for someone who doesn't really like them? How hard is it to buy potted orchids, or daisies, or dahlias instead of roses, or hell, even a six pack of beer?
Everyone likes different things, and one of the great things about having family and friends and loved ones is that they should know exactly what you like and they care enough about you to go out and find it. The Boy is well-known for buying me out-of-season fruit on Valentine's, not because it's a cliche (because as far as I know it's not) but because he knows I like it! Why do we spend the rest of the year finding out more about the people we care about and learning to appreciate them as individuals, and then on Valentine's get ridiculously lazy and either repeat old cliches or go on bitter rants about the existence of them in the first place. Who creates cliches, anyway? We do, of course! Cliches are created by people who do the SAME THING, over and over, regardless of who they're doing it for and why they're doing it. Valentine's cliches come from lazy people who came home at the end of the day from their office jobs and were drowning in money but lacking in creativity. So they shelled out $50 or $100 for a dozen red roses, and more for an overpriced dinner, and then they felt like they'd done their duty. The problem, of course, is that love gets awfully boring when it's all about duty. It's supposed to be about mutual understanding and affection. It's supposed to be about people having fun together and not getting caught up in formalities.
So the next time you feel like now would be a good time to rant about the evils of Capitalist Valentine's Day, try to stop and think about why it got so capitalist: it's because of generations of people who would rather spend their money than use their imaginations. And how does whining about it help? How does whining about anything EVER help? It doesn't. In fact, ranting about Valentine's Day is becoming a cliche in itself! The only way to make Valentine's Day a day that you will enjoy and not loathe or ignore is to bloody well go out and do something different.
Failing that, do what my favourite cranky bachelor, Will from About a Boy does on Christmas: watch movies while getting drunk and stoned. That's a lot more creative than bitter rantings.
Time for me to finish reading the details of the armoured bear battle in the Golden Compass. It's getting exciting.