hearts and flowers
It's early to think about Valentine's Day, unless you're booking a trip to Paris, but in my opinion, most of the time V-day is not a day that ends good. It can't live up to expectations. Restaurants push a dumbed-down, over-priced set menu, knowing that (a) most of the people in the dining room will be people who don't eat in restaurants a lot, and (b) there will be a bad scene at at least one table. I've seen kids come home from school in tears, disappointed girls opening packages that are, um, not small enough - probably the only day in the year when one might think that! You could cut the atmosphere with a knife at concerts (why are we here? Why are we listening to this noise instead of joyfully embracing one another at the top of a building or mountain or something and calling our folks?). I don't even like to shop on or the day before V-day - too many men looking uncomfortable in at least one of its many ways, harried, puzzled, guilty, furtive. Annoyed women trudge through the market: cute dinner for two, my eye, we should be going out. Sitters will not admit to being available. A year's worth of resentments can bubble to the surface in a blink. And as for the way red roses suddenly triple in price, well, it's worse than the way clothing prices bounce up and down on websites.
And yet, as Mr. Webster said of Dartmouth, there are those who love it, who have tender memories, who will smile as they help their kids glue hearts on doilies, who leave the table early for a good reason. So if you're making plans, be careful: it's my heart. And if you think your plans might involve champagne, buy it now and tuck it away, before the price - well, you know.