Valentine's Day is around the corner and you can already go blind and deaf under the blast of advertising. My input to the charade will be as a bored and slightly irritated observer. They will paint many things red and roll out many white teddy bears with hearts in their paws. Themed nights, bouquets, the works.
Who came up with the idea anyway? It's not the concept of Valentine's that I find reprehensible, even though its full of gaps in logic. It's the inevitable herd mentality which makes the whole world suckers to groupthink. Miss out on Valentine's Day fanfare and you WILL feel like a pariah. Nobody will make you pull moods and mope miserably all week; you will do it of your own volition.
I had the opportunity one day to argue these points with Jennifer. That dull Sunday afternoon I walked all the long way to my favorite pool, only to find it dark green, stagnant and locked. On my way back home, I ran into Jennifer on her way to the pool, told her the bad news, and we headed back to our neighborhood in low spirits. How did Valentine's Day come up for discussion? Search me.
I ended up saying that love is not a rational decision; it is not even a decision a person makes. Falling in love happens first, and then one decides what to do about it after. Not the kind of thing where a cost-benefit analysis qualifies or disqualifies the beloved before Cupid gives the green light. At its foundations, love is irrational like this - it has no motif it must conform to and needs no justification to validate it. All other factors - character, looks, financial stability, age difference, compatibility etc - support or inhibit but never create love. But you wouldn't think so from reading Lonely Hearts columns or practising Valentine's Day in its current dogmatic format.
(There I was, thinking I was enjoying a deep conversation with Jennifer.)
She called me a radical and refuted my claims using maxims extracted straight from the latest chick flicks. Before I could intellectualize the matter again, she quickly changed the subject.
"Reggae's not as bad as I thought," she said.
This was an about-turn to marvel at, coming from Jennifer the proudly self-confessed heavy-metal rock addict, but the part which hit me like a sledgehammer was the utterly irrational look in her eyes as she said it. It made no sense whatsoever, but there it was - live.
I suggested lunch.