Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Cupids and Flowers and Hearts

My personal, interior Red Cross is on the job today doing some post-Valentine's Day disaster recovery. My imaginary volunteers are distributing safety blankets and juice-boxes as we speak to the parts of my psyche a little worse for the V-Day wear. What's great is because they're my Red Cross who live only in my head, I get to make them wear old-timey nurse uniforms with that pin-on cardboard hat with a cross printed on it. They're very obliging about it, and besides, I've heard from a reputable source that those orthopedic nurse shoes are actually very comfortable.

Extended metaphors aside, Valentine's Day wasn't the greatest.

It was doomed from the moment I got to work, though. My company fastidiously celebrates only the most secular of holidays. We don't acknowledge Christmas or Hannukah; instead, the Mathematics department designs a "Happy New Year" card each year to send out to all employees and book contributors. This year, the front of the card had a picture of a rock on it. The Lord is Come! Examine this igneous specimen! Hosannah in the Highest!

Apparantly, Valentine's Day is sufficiently godless for them--"them" being "whoever it is in charge of going to Krispy Kreme." I knew something was going on when I arrived on my floor and found a moth-eaten decorative red pillow hanging kind of sideways off the door handle. "I luv you," it declared. "I want to di," I answered.

The festivities didn't stop there, though. There were two red carnations hanging out of a giant vase on the reception desk. Two flowers in a huge vase is the botanical equivalent of a combover. It was the saddest bouquet I've ever laid eyes on. I managed to walk through the first section of cubicles without any further declarations of corporate love, though I did find complimentary doughnuts in the kitchen. This was actually a very nice gesture. Try as I might, I'm at a loss for anything disparaging to say about a pastry with pink sprinkles on it.

Doughnut in hand, I proceeded towards my desk. Before I got there, though, I came face to face with the one decoration in my section.

The curious thing about helium balloons is that they have a life span. One can't inflate a balloon and expect it to hang around the ceiling forever. Within even a few hours, you'll notice a previously perfect balloon doesn't tug on your hand quite the same way. By the next morning, the balloon's looking you in the face, a trail of grubby ribbon dragging slack on the floor. It's all downhill from there. It'll be on the floor by evening.

This is what I found tied to an empty cubicle. One. Dying. Pink. Balloon. It had obviously been in the office since the night before and lost all its helium by the time I found it. One frigging half-inflated pink balloon, tied to an empty cubicle lest the excessive Valentine cheer it imparts kill a productive employee.

And people say the business world is heartless.

Work was work, and that's to be expected. On the subway back to the train, I sat next to a girl smiling angelically down at a single red rose. I was fighting the urge to seperate her head from her body when I was distracted by the couple making out across the aisle; theoretically, it should've been just as offensive to me, but they were at least fifty-five and the woman had braces, so it was actually kind of fascinating.

But what of my unwitting Valentine, the Hot Dad? Well, he was on the train yesterday, though the seat next to him was occupied by a giant bouquet of red roses instead of your narrator. When he asked to borrow my pen to fill out his wife's card I couldn't help but wonder how much it would really hurt to throw oneself on the third rail.

When I thought it couldn't get any worse, we left to go stand by the door. He unplugged my headphones to have me listen to a Modest Mouse song he really likes (applicably entitled "Ohio"), and I made him listen to the Le Tigre cover of "I'm So Excited." Of course then we just went through each other's iPods, and he threw a fit when he found "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Sinead O'Connor on mine. This is my on-repeat song of late. Could it conceivably be any more LifeTime Afternoon Movie of him to like that song?

Anyway, long story short, when I wished him a Happy Valentine's Day at the bottom of the stairs, he hugged me.

[Let's all just take a moment and sit with that.]

Then I saw Charade with my mother, and sat next to an elderly couple who not only announced every person, place or thing they recognized ("Henry Mancini!" "Notre Dame!" "Audrey Hepburn!" "Hey, we're at a movie!"), but also had horrible indigestion and burped up what smelled like salami for the entire one hour and fifty-three minutes I sat next to them.

It was terribly romantic.


Anonymous Mike said...

"theoretically, it should've been just as offensive to me, but they were at least fifty-five and the woman had braces, so it was actually kind of fascinating."Leg braces or teeth braces?

And as for movies to see on VD, Charade is the best possible choice. A romantic murder mystery, how perfect is that?

1:16 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Teeth braces. Her orthodontia glinted in the throes of their passion.

1:22 PM  

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