Without Valentine’s Day, February would be… well, January. ~Jim Gaffigan
Today is Valentine’s Day – or, as men like to call it, Extortion Day! – Jay Leno
I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon. ~Author Unknown
During a post New Year’s Rite-Aid run a few days after the Times Square ball dropped ushering another year of existence, the sight of employees frantically taking down Christmas decorations, shoving unsought toys/presents into discounted sale aisles and plastering red hearts everywhere, greeted me. Heart-shaped candy and amorous sentiment cards which will lie in wait to be bought at the last minute by clueless ones who will forget until the day of, what day it is, stood being arranged and stacked. For six weeks each year, anyone harmlessly looking for toothpaste and Noxzema will have baby Cupids and soft rock ballads shoved down his or her throats inescapably.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s time to feign PDA and parade our relationships all over town so everyone knows just how deeply in love we are again. It can’t possibly be real love unless expensive dinner (which you can’t really enjoy because you have to eat daintily), diamond jewelry and chocolate with nuts are involved, right? Clearly falling out of love with the Valentine Day’s concept several years ago because of how commercial an industry it’s become and the silly idea that there’s only one day a year to publicly express how you feel about each other so skipping from February 13th -February 15th will now be preferable. I’m all for stimulating the economy and am a hopeless romantic at heart (lol) but do we really need the ephemeral tokens of affection? Within hours, talk shows and commercials will return back to hawking useless things we can’t live without.
Last year, I bravely ventured out alone (declining a hastily planned blind date) to a concert on Valentine’s Day to see Melanie Fiona and Robin Thicke. As you might expect, I had reservations about doing this because naturally I wondered whether I’d vomit being the third wheel in the forced date nights in progress. I humorously did indeed encounter some awkward first date moments, empowered groups of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”, couples in mid-fight and married women openly fantasizing about being with Robin Thicke (I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him and his blue eyes are really hot), regardless of who was sitting next to them. Besides the music (my fav songs were “Wrong Side of a Love Song” and “Pretty Lil’ Heart”), it truly turned out to be an entertaining case study after all.
So, in conclusion, if Valentine’s Day is your thing, good for you. Enjoy. You get a cookie. A stale gourmet one bought at 9 PM from the only supermarket open.
How was Big Bear you failed to ask me? Hmmm…
It sucked gnarly oversized donkey balls. I’d say in a nutshell. (pun intended)
Fix it in your mind: A 4 story cabin in the middle of whoeverwhere with six rooms, kitchen, dining, living room, super patio with all you can drink friends and all you can laugh drunks, magnificent fun was all I could imagine, a snowy heaven.
It was glass-like ice on the ground when we pulled up. This was a last minute trip that if I were to get a do-over I’d not only not make, but I wouldn’t have even wasted the brain energy to consider going.
Why did I go exactly–you fail once again to ask me? For a friend’s birthday.
But Lalanii you cannot snowboard nor partake in any equilibrium-based adventures, you say to me so calmly?
Well, I’ll tell you, I felt inclined, and quite honestly because I am now a fit, healthy, and active 108 lb. show-off. However that doesn’t equate that I’m a well-balanced, or coordinated 108 lb. show-off.
How many times have I seen snow that I can remember? Once.
What was the outcome of that snow-irking adventure? Fear, frustration, and a godawful fight with the ex.
Why-ever would I think things to be different? Because I GROWED-UP! I would say to you in my big girl voice.
We get settled in that Friday night late, late. The first night I sat up reading a bit. I wore my onesie pajamas with the feet in, hilarity. One of my roomies had a belly that swallowed 3 whales and a snore that woke up all of the mountain.
How much sleep did I get that night you ask me? About 3 and a half minutes I would tell you.
First Saturday on the snow and we can skip to the important parts. My snowboard was ok, but my boots were super cute. I thought of running home in them. These fat stompers fed my tiny girl complex and all 4″11 of me was overjoyed once they were finally on. A twinge of excitement. I’m in the snowboard, one leg out like they tell me. I’m giggling because sliding with one foot on flat ground is pie. The lift comes and this part due to painful experience, I’d forgotten. Apparently you step in front of the lift and it glides you up into the sky.
Why the *&^% are we going into the sky when I’m a beginner you say AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS? That is beyond my grasp, I tell you… my friends must be absolute idiots… or they could care less about how well I do at all whatsoEVER.
By the time I’m heading to the top of the hill my friend and his girlfriend in the same ski lift as I, I’m starting to realize I’m not here with friends at all. I’m here with cruel and unusual snowboarding strangers most of which I was god-awfully led to believe would teach me to snowboard with the bunnies. On the bunny mountain.
But I am finding out as I lift skyward that bunny hills are for losers. I’m headed for the gigantic slope of my life.
What happens different this time from the last time I was on the dreadful lift? Absolutely nothing.
I fall. Face flat into the snowhill as my tiny jump off the lift proved a slippery success… into what I will call white hell. This is the part where my boyfriend’s brother picks me up by my arm in a caring dragging manner, laughs, and somehow scoots me out of the way. Thankful as ever am I someone noticed.
*Why the boyfriend isn’t here to show me how to snowboard in detail will be redacted but 1. He’s at work making money and 2. He’s at work making money and 3. He’s a skier anyway.
Who talked me into snowboarding, anyway (I think now to myself)? The boyfriends roommate/best friend. Aka the birthday girl. Aka up until this trip–one of the most awesome-est girls I’ve met in my natural life. I did say up until this trip she was awesome. After this trip, she is just awe. But Happy Birthday anyway.
I stare down the snowhill (where the F*&^ are the bunnies?) pop up to my knees and begin. For the first 12 seconds I’m off like a pro. Call me Pronamel. I’m hard, I’m super, I’m high, I’m flying, I’m zooming, I’m, I’m-someone in front of me I’m not stoppppppppping I’m pulling my weight to the ground to avoid hitting the family in front of me. Fear rushes in like a fever burst. Small fall, no worries. I’m up again and forcing myself to ground in 6 seconds to avoid the tree. I’m up again, I fall flat over. Face in snow. Hands soaked wet. I’m up again, my snowboard curves to the side of the slope where the ropes are and I grab for the rope, fall. Again, I am up with a vengeance because I am getting the hang of nothing but falling. Determined to fall my way into learning I look up 10 minutes into the hill and no one is in sight. Silent.
One stranger is coming down the hill flying like he’s racing a roller coaster, he’s gone. Alone again. I’m up. I’ balance to a stand. I fall. I’m up, I’m down. I’m up I’m sliding sliding, I’m still sliding far too far to the right and I’m back at the rope again because apparently my snowboard only fails to the right. I ignore that I’m going for the rope because I’m up for more than a few seconds when I hit the rope and I fall dizzy into the snow and achy on my back and tailbone like I’ll never forget. The pain shoots through the top of my back and hip and I lie there. Tears are coming. But this is the part where I quit last time so onward I go.
The thing about falling is there comes a point where you start to lose hope you’re ever going to get any better and for perfectionists like I, that’ll frustrate you more. Tears are cold in snow. My fingers are wetter now. Frozen. Up. Down. Up. Hard into the snow. Up. Fast forward thirty more minutes of the fall, the up, add cursing, and babies strolling by looking like this:
The cute little broad passes me up, no more than four years old and it pisses me off. Don’t get me wrong she is cute as strawberry pie with a cherry, but all I can think about is me now. How come I-I-I can’t get it? Stand to a fall. Stand to a fall backward. Stand to a tantrum in the snow and flailing arms and stomping board flipping up and over my head, and my fingers are in sheer pain now. Throbbing, cold to a shaking achy pain. I take one foot off to get me good and center, strap back in and I’m off to another 12 seconds of bliss only to force myself down because more people are in the way. Another 15 seconds before the board catches so much speed I feel forced to fall again, or break something. I’ve never broken any body part. Fall hard on hip. Fall harder on tailbone. The body throbs now and this is not only frustrating and cold, but I’ve never felt so alone.
I throw the board and my gloves in front of me and I struggle to get up. I’m in such throbbing pain I can hardly walk and I wish someone had taught me how to fall properly because I’m sure I’ve sprained my butt bone. I walk clutching the last two fingers on my left hand although all of my fingers on each of my hands are unbelievably numb. I head for the cafe and bar area and it is a very long 15 minute walk down the snow hill. The wind chills my face and the tears reach my chin.
If I can jump around a bit from that moment to the next night. As if having a gee golly good time falling down a hill wasn’t bad enough: when the b day girl tells the house of 27 or so family, friends, and strangers to ready themselves to go to the only club in Big Bear. I get myself dressed, offer myself up to her with a “What’s up we ready? I’m dressed, you told me to get dressed, let’s go!” to which she replies
“I really don’t appreciate you coming at me like that, you think I can get 20 people ready to go?” she brushes her hand at the living room as if to gesture to get out of her face.
I undress. I take what I wish was a hot shower in super cold water since there was no hot water left, and I climb into the tiny twin size bed with a book and a lump in my throat. An hour and a half later I see the lights of the van through the window leave for the one club in Big Bear. Without me.
I get up and start calling all friends, family, and finally taxi services to drive me home, but everyone is either busy, has a broken car, or doesn’t answer. Taxi service said to get back home tonight is wet and winding and no less than $250. I’m stuck. I am on the phone with my old best bud talking through the horrific ordeal when the man of my dreams walks in.
Yes, in strolls the boyfriend. The one I was sure wasn’t coming because work was too hard, finished too late, and he’s just too tired. His eyes hungry-vampire-red, his smile tired but excited. I barely give him a second look I’m so furiously impatient to go home. We talk in private about the day’s ordeals. This man sparkles through my heart on a dark night in the middle of snowy hell. He talks me into skiing the next day. How he did so is not you all’s business.
Sunday I fall exactly off the lift just like the day before and my original time. I fall purely out of fear alone. He takes me to the bunny slopes this time, but I do no better. When I slip down while on the skis, I find them entangled without any way to get back up. I burst into tears and beg him to let me take them off. We have this thing about needing to try every thing at least once. Ok, ok. This time, boyfriend holds me and kisses me to a stand. He holds my body as he skis backwards down the hill and I scream into tears like the twelve-year-old price I paid to get in. At the bottom, he encourages me, hugs me, and tells me I did pretty good. I feel like a failure and exclaim that I will never go to Big Bear or the snow again. He is unaffected by my hysterics and I tell him to go ski down the big snow mountain stuff with his buddies. He doesn’t hesitate and I spend the rest of the evening in the bar sipping spicy cider praying for fairies to come take me home.
YOU ALL SHOULD SURELY BE THE FIRST TO KNOW THAT:
If snowboarding doesn’t look like this I will never again try it:
And now back to the first Saturday. Where were we? Ah, right after popping off my snowboard and huffing to the cafe. As I’m walking I’m reminded of the last time I was in the snow. How much it really hurt until my face was blistered red, how my hands were pulsing with pain just like now, how my heart was even sadder, now; not because I couldn’t do it, but because I couldn’t change my experience in the snow after all this time.
I ask the gal for the hottest towel she had and a vanilla hazelnut latte. She hands it over–lightning flash speed, and it was the first time I ever considered hugging and yes, even kissing a girl. On the lips, yes, the lips-face-cheek, and a hug… for saving my fingers that were right then tingling back to life.
Snowboarders across the world: you are all lovely lucky folks to have the kind of balance you have, but you can ALL eat it down a snow hill for an hour and thirty minutes in tears alone, and then talk to me about how you feel. Silence much?
Yeah, I know… it sounds like snow falling.
The snow is for falling.