Tuesday, February 14, 2006

St. Valentine's Day and Fast Food

This weekend, I was eating by myself in a “fast food restaurant.” And I love to people watch. Luckily for me, this restaurant was full of interesting people. I saw a family of 6 – husband, wife, and four children, from about four to eleven or twelve years old. And the husband was asking the children to open their hands, something I could tell they had done countless times. Like a well-oiled machine, each child got a dollop of Purell (or some other kind of hand sanitizing lotion). To me, it was cute – amusing. It just made my meal.

Oh, how I love to watch children play. The eleven-year-old daughter was chanting, “Miss me, miss me, now you gotta kiss me.” And then she thought about it, and said something like, “gross, nevermind.” She said that her nine year old brother was “ugly” and he was a handsome boy. Siblings. Wife was subdued, demure. Husband strong, the head of the household. In an instant, I wondered about them – if the wife and I could switch places, what my life would be like. Would I be happier, more complete?

For the sake of equal time, if I could change with the husband – how about a lesbian couple with four well-behaved children. Would people still whisper behind my back if I was married to a woman, had wonderful children, a great job, a good life. Would people still look at me funny when we were at McDonald’s, me placing dollops of hand sanitizer on my children. Why would I not kiss my love in public, when I freely do so now? Because heterosexual kisses are socially more acceptable in the Bible Belt. Am I that worried about what people think? Probably.

I saw a boy and girl in the fast food restaurant playing, sharing their toys. At that moment they may have not had a care in the world. I looked at their father – I am guessing here. He was reading a newspaper. His adorable children were sharing a special moment, and he was casually reading the paper. Life comes at us fast – and he was letting this moment go by unnoticed.

I sometimes wonder about marriage – about why people enter marriage. I am bumping through life with someone to share it with. Is it enough that we have each other to share moments with. Sort of like life is less special without someone to share in the joys and the heartaches. When I was in college, I once said that I could live life as a nun and be content. Cloistered in a Church, reading, praying, learning. I thought about that life. I did not have a calling – I just wondered if I could live that way. I think a lot of Catholic girls wonder the same thing.

Today is Valentine’s Day. A whole day about romance, being together, love. I have expectations on Valentine’s Day – I expect a gift, a dinner and a bit of romance. Funny thing is that when hubbie does this on another day, I enjoy it more. It is more special. This is one of those compulsory holidays – things are expected, and hubbie doesn’t get full credit when he gives me what is expected. Sort of a rip-off. Something that started out as a Catholic Feast Day and now it is so different.

You know, I wonder what fast food restaurants are like during Valentine’s Day. Would the scenes be loving, lovely, or pathetic? I mean, would I see an over-stressed family getting a bite to eat, not even realizing it is Valentine’s Day. Or would I see teenage lovers, lips entangled, exchanging cheap jewelry that means so much more than it is ever worth. To see the necklace twenty years later, having some of the gold plate worn off from “that boy who you dated in high school.” That scrap of jewelry that you would not dream of wearing today but it brings a smile to your face. Perhaps Valentine’s Day is for those memories. Teenaged love – a way of forcing commitment from a boyfriend’s lips. Not really romantic, but you remember it differently.

Happy Valentine’s Day – hoping you have a good one no matter how you spend it.

17 comments:

Mike said...

I think the older you get...and if you're actually in a relationship this is definitely a 'forced' holiday....it doesn't have the luster it had when you were a teenager....or a newlywed for that matter.

Hope you're feeling better today!

Amber said...

Same to you, sweetie!

Sheen V said...

Happy V-day!

Joe said...

Are you implying that it's bad form to take your significant other to McDonald's for Valentine's Day? Does that hold true even if you let them buy whatever they want from the menu?

Not that I'll ever know what it's like to have a date or anything...

Edtime Stories said...

I think your insights here are wonderful and I hope you enjoy the day. I have spent a lot of time in my life being anti-Valentine's day since when you are in love do you need a day to remind you of it?

I think your imagery of the necklace with the gold worn off is wonderful, it really shows how as we grow older we still connect with those things that touched us in our younger days.

Happy Valentine's Day and all the other days to come.

Video X said...

i agree...i think a lot of catholic girls wonder the exact same thing as well. i have priests and nuns in my fam so it was definitely a thought for me!

happy valentines day!

Grant said...

Happy VD. I'm totally alone in this world. Alone. Alone. SO ALOOOOOONE! So thanks for reminding me. :p

halo said...

I too thought about becomming a nun. Could you imagine? I couldnt..

Happy Valentines Day Leesa, beautiful post, as always it has my mind spinning. :-)

~Deb said...

Happy Valentine’s Day sweetie! We’re so much alike as far as ‘people watching’. I observe everything when I’m out- to the point of almost ignoring my sweetie.

The other night, my girlfriend (partner) and I went to this nice restaurant, and then to their night club after dinner. It was around 10ish or so, we had a cocktail and waited for the DJ. All of the sudden, ---no lie—about 40 kids came into the night club----and I’m talking 8 yr old kids with two chaperones. Now, usually I would have more respect and not hold my lover’s hand in public with children around----but they were on ‘our turf’ ---late hours… This is New York---ANYTHING GOES… So I didn’t care. I held her hand and kissed my girlfriend.

The two chaperones came up to us. They were both women. BOTH GAY! (ha) She said it was a relief to see two women so comfortable in public together. Ironic, huh?

My point? Sometimes the very thing you’re afraid of, isn’t such a big deal to others. Always be ‘you’. (I know this was a hypothetical situation you wrote, but I’m just making a point…)

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!


P.S. I cannot see you being a nun. Please don't. But if you do, please give us the erotic details 'after hours' at the convent!

RocksAndChairs said...

i also really enjoy people watching. though people really annoy the crap out of me, i still find them interesting. especially children. i love to see them experiencing something for the first time. it puts things into perspective doesn't it?

Girl Next Door said...

Wow, Deb's comment was interesting " I cannot see you being a nun. Please don't. But if you do, please give us the erotic details 'after hours' at the convent! "

I think no matter what you chose in life you would have loved it.

When I get to heaven there are some things I am curious about. 1. Dinasaurs, 2. What my relatives were really like and 3. If I had made different choices, how would my life have played out.

Happy Valentine's Day.

GNDTX

ck_dexter_haven said...

~Deb, nice addition to a very thought provoking post. I was very shy when I was younger and I can remember having a crush on the girl across the street when we were in grade school. I had a gold chain that I'd found and cleaned up.(I had no money of my own at that time and no way could I have asked my parents for something like that) I found a charm that I'd had in my draw an Indian fether I think, and put it in an envelope and gave it to her for Vday. After I read yoru post I wondered if she has ever pulled it our and smiled. I just did. I guess it works both ways.
Thanks Leesa

Georgiapeach said...

Hey Leesa, my head is still spinning from my attempt to listen to Enya and Stevie Nicks......whoo. That was really hard...I don't think I have ever listened to music like that. It was very unique, I'll try to get into it. Just so that I can say I have listened to it..lol. What is that kind of music called?
I am going to try to find some Bob Dylan. Is Bob Dylan that guy they made a movie about?..I am not sure. I hope you are having a lovely V-day. I myself actually forgot about it..which is a big surprise to me. Maybe I am maturing? I really don't know. I have been a spoiled brat on V-day for the last nine years I have been dating. Matter of fact last year I cried when I didn't get what I wanted..lol. Now this year, I could careless. I didn't even buy my boyfriend a card..lol. I am going to try to figure something out by the time I get off work.
You remember that game I called myself making up..lol. Well you won. You had the most correct answers. Girl, that was amazing. So I made you a v-day gift. You have to check it out. I also have some Enya playing..lol (my head is starting to hurt thinking about it). See you later.

Goddess said...

Leesa, it is so funny you mentioned that necklace.... When I was 16, I started dating my "high School boyfriend" for our first Valentines day, he picked me up from work, took me to the basketball courts. We played some one on one, and then he made me close my eyes. He then produced a helium rose balloon. I still have that balloon, in a scrapbook, and everytime I see it, I remember how innocent life was back then. I remember how excitied I was to get that balloon from him.... especially when I was not expecting anything at all.....

Leesa said...

mike: still sick.

amber: Happy V-day to you, dear!

sheen: happy V-day to you!

joe: so you are saying that I wouldn't have to order off the dollar menu, joe?

ed: I accidently tripped on the gold necklace image.

VX: I would have wanted a brown habit; either that or super powers like the flying nun!

grant: I thought you might make a move on your teacher.

muse: thanks for the compliment. I bet you would make a rather fetching nun.

~deb: I like your point, sweetie. The times, they are a changin'

roocksandchairs: yeah, puts things in perspective.

GNDTX: Personally, I want to know if Pres. Kennedy rubbed out Marilyn Monroe.

dexter: I bet you brought a smile to that woman's face when she ran across the necklace.

GP: Enya may be called New Age music. I have seen it there before. Stevie Nicks is goat music. Just joking - pop music in the late 70s, early 80s. Or were they just in the '80s. Stevie Nicks was part of Fleetwood Mac. You must be looking at an old post.

Bob Dylan is a musican; Dylan Thomas was a poet from Wales. I am not sure of a movie, but I would guess there would be one of the poet.

I can't believe I won your game - although we are sisters.

goddess: sweet story. I remember the first rose I gave a boy. I was so nervous!

BrainSyke said...

I dont like to pay attention to the Valentine's day. Like you said, it makes things cumpolsory and merely expected.

I think love and affection and care should be expressed genuinely all the time, and out of a feeling of reponsiblity instead. My wife and I didnt do anything different.

we go out and dine every other week; tease and share laughter everyday, and do things together everyday. I do not see the significance of valentines day.

perhaps it is forcing or pretend-happiness for some, or just an excuse for a little festive celeberation for others. To me, its just another day.

The Humanity Critic said...

Happy Belated V-Day..