Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Valentine Memory

When you're a little kid, everyone in your class gets a valentine because you give one to everyone in your class. It's like a rule. Or it was a rule. Like a participation trophy, exactly a participation trophy now that I think about it. 

The first year our parent's didn't make us bulk valentine that it was third grade. I remember it was third grade very well, and at this point although I forget a number of other things about elementary school I sill remember that classroom. We sat in alphabetical order by last name. It had one of those old green chalkboards and the seats were the old style sturdy ones, with dark brown wood seats and attached desks, with a gray steel frame that looked like they should have been part in a tank. The big old style window where the panes flipped outward. I want to say the floor was white. 

In any case on that Valentine's day there was period, right after lunch, where we could all walk around and pass out our Valentines. At that age it was still the giggly we're not even sure what we're doing kind of kind of thing. Looking back I'm not sure I can call those feelings love in any real sense. A budding bundle of emotions waiting to be carved by capricious circumstance? We were wading into the ocean of relationships careful not to go past our knees, most of us with no idea we could drown.

And so I handed out my small tokens of young love - a funny card or five, that part is a bit of a blur with all the time passed. I know that I didn't hand out one to everyone in class, but it was more than five. Most of the other kids did the same, cards for good friends, a card for their crush, one or two proto brown-nosers giving one to the teacher. We fluttered back and forth for a few minutes and then it was over.

At this point in my life decades later I've gone out on a date or two. Less than I'd hoped really. When Sporty and I were in that groove we seemed to always hang out on Valentine's Day for some reason. Strange I know. Because I like the idea of romance over the years I've taken the time to hone my talents and knowledge of the subject. I overthink things. I've advised guys on what to say, what gifts not to buy and how far in advance to make those pesky dinner reservations. I've been asked by women to critique what they've planned. Let's be clear here though, I'm not a love guru or anything like that, but I have developed a eclectic but refined taste that people who know me tend to recognize.

We live right now in the age of the Savage, where relationship invitations are all declarations of  narcissistic expectation, where personal interaction has become minimal to point of our own personal development's detriment, and our lives appear to be continuous highlights paraded to the masses on social media to quench our sad thirst for attention. What hath we wrought? And I'm a long way from that young man who wore his heart on his sleeve because he didn't know any better. But I'm not a Savage. I'm a little too empathetic for that. Not that I haven't occasionally been an ass in a personal relationship, but I like to think those are few and far between. I'm an actual nice guy, but too many people use the term "nice guy" the wrong way, to the good and the bad.

As you may have guessed by now, the little kid me didn't get any valentines.

It's funny what we carry with us from our childhood.

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