So I'm walking up and down the aisles, trying to ignore the gaudy hallmark color schemes and chalky "be mine" heart candy displays, and I couldn't help but look around at the scrambling Romeos and Juliettes. Mostly Romeos actually, but when you think about it, the women get their valentines day shopping done before 5:00 the day of, so not a huge surprise there. But it was actually quite the sight. It kind of snuck up on me, and then hit me all at once.
There were old men scooting around in their walkers clutching bouquets and glitter covered cards. There were high school kids in their football jackets picking quarters out of their pants pockets and staring at the rose prices in disbelief. One big burly looking lumberjack guy picked out the most expensive flower assortment in the store, grabbed a handful of "I love you" balloons and sauntered to the checkout line, scratching his beard absent mindedly. A father with 2 small kids bends down and says "Go find something for mommy that's really special" and they jog off to fulfill their important mission.
I got in line with my pizzas, water, kitty litter, and bottle of JD (wants on the list, I improvised that one) and wedged myself in with the love-struck citizens of Jewel Osco. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a young looking Santa Claus guy get in line behind me. I eyed his purchases. Box of chocolates, half dozen roses, and a card. I looked at him and said "Lucky girl". He smiled at me and said "Valentines day is the one day a year I can buy flowers for her and not have to say I'm sorry about anything." I wanted to say yeah you better knock on some wood, the day isn't over yet buddy... but I didn't. Instead I just said "yeah" and turned around again to make sure my purchases hadn't gone over $56 bucks, which is all I had in my wallet.
So while I was heaving my groceries into the back of my car, I told myself that next year I should mark the calendar on February 14th "Don't go grocery shopping day". The entire experience was too overwhelming. I was happy for everyone in there, and sad for me. I mean, even that old guy with the scooty walker and the glitter card is probably going to pop some stiffy pills and get laid tonight. I'll be playing party poker on the Internet and drinking JD straight out of the bottle.
On the drive home I was mulling over all the Jewel love birds and how they have no idea who lucky they are to have someone to spend obscene amounts of cash on today, and I passed the Liberty Tax office. Its tax season, so every year around this time they hire some poor ass hole to stand outside in the blistering cold and snow to wear a ridiculous stature of liberty costume and waving at all the passing cars. Now, I always feel bad for these people, they probably get paid 5 bucks an hour to look like a retarded person on Halloween for hours on end in sub zero weather, waving like the opening ceremony at the special Olympics with a giant shit eating grin on their faces. I'm sure they would all secretly like to burn the Liberty Tax building to the ground, right after repeatedly ass raping the manager who thought up the waving costume idea... but they don't. Every year its the same thing. The same 3 people, rain or shine.
So when I passed the enthusiastically waving statue of liberty guy, I had to fight the urge to flip him off with every ounce of my being. My right hand actually left the steering wheel and the nerve endings in my middle finger began to tingle with the electric energy of a thousand suns. The liberty guy looked me right in the eye, waving spaztically as he realized I was looking right back at him and my hand was poised in the air ready to do the unthinkable. I swallowed hard and forced the other 4 fingers up to form a cross between a very stiff wave and a pimp getting ready to bitch-slap someone. I waved. He smiled. I was very, very relieved.