mardi, février 14, 2006

On Intellectualismality Versus the Heart

Greetings from Santa Ana, California, where yes, on Valentine’s Day, I am away from home for a business meeting.

I have a friend who, for purposes of this post, I’ll call CK1. Now, CK1 is an intellectual’s intellectual. Hers is the life of the mind. Some time ago, CK1 was breaking down for me all her reasons for liberating ourselves from celebrations and rituals that are primarily motivated by commerce. Along these lines, Christmas would be marked for reconsideration, and so, of course, would today’s St. Valentine’s Day.

Along those lines, I heard on the radio yesterday that the average shopper spends $125 on Valentine’s Day.

I read in USA Today just a moment ago that 22% of women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.

[I’ll pause while you digest that]

Because I am a leading thinker of our time, and because mine is a life of intellectual rigor, a life that favors reason above all else, I found much to like in CK1’s discourse.

Hallmark props up the day, and if we don’t live up to it’s expectations, then we’re horrible. They added the celebration, much as they are attempting to add Grandparent’s Day now, as a new business line. It will take a while, but soon, grandparents everywhere will flip out if they don’t get a card and flower.

And this was my driving thought last Friday, when headquarters insisted that I come out for a meeting. Because mine is a caring and sensitive company, the invitation was accompanied by sincere concern about how Mrs. Duf* might receive the news. With confidence, I boasted “no worries. My wife (sensible above all else) does not care about such things.”

And friends, let me pass along that when we are most confident, is perhaps when we should be most concerned.

But all was not lost, we celebrated early:

We went to dinner at our Melting Pot restaurant**

We went to the Minnesota Orchestra's passionate presentation of Tchaicovsky’s Symphony No. 4***

I bought my love a couple of books, including this one.

I wrote her a poem (abandoning my typical cynicism, instead striving for a light sugary-sweet tone).

And because all ramblings should eventually taper, and because all stories of this sort should have some kind of punch line, I feel it is my obligation to pass along this small bit of wisdom…

wisdom that arrived to me just now, sitting in my room at the very end of the hall on the 6th floor of an older Doubletree Hotel…

wisdom that arrived just as I finished my room service veggie burger whilst watching the wonderful Iowa v. Michigan State game…

wisdom I wish I could impart to all the drivers and passengers in all the cars that are zooming past me on the 405…

wisdom I hope to share with CK1...

this wisdom:

Regardless of the motive, it’s okay to celebrate our passions and attachments; there is no poor basis for telling someone you love them and care about them. Let Hallmark make a little coin for a good idea. Let’s all prop up jewelry stores and spas and florists. Let’s all make a strong February for restaurants and for sleazy motels.

And this accompanying revelation:

a hotel room, 2,200 miles from home with only an aged laptop and a plate of cold freedom fries can be a little lonely...even on a propped up holiday.

Happy Valentine's Day, friend - hug your people.

*After much discussion, the now short-lived moniker recently attached to my love, “The Gardener” has been voted down (perhaps my most faithful reader pointed out that it made her sound like hired help (the furthest thing from my intention)). Rather than torture myself in search of an alternative, its predecessor, “Mrs. Duf” has been resurrected.

**We walked in without reservations and secured a booth for two complete with a privacy curtain. Sure, it was a little close to the kitchen, but one has to take one’s luck where one finds it. I’m told that our Minneapolis Melting Pot is second in total sales only to the Melting Pot in Kansas City – a point of particular pride for me because my little brother works at the KC MP.

***With grateful appreciate to JK and RK a.k.a. DK for sponsoring our symphony experience as a Christmas present (and for babysitting). The Minnesota Orchestra opened with Barber’s Adagio for Strings (loved by all, hated by none). It was a wonderful evening.