Quondam Dreams

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Valentine's Day Is Over

It must have been my junior year of college -- that's when I was listening to Billy Bragg's Worker's Playtime almost a bit too often. I was in the living room of my campus apartment on a gray day, studying, or reading, or trying to look like I was reading, or feeling guilty about not studying. Anyway, I was sprawled out in the living room, and I had a tape of the album playing on the little stereo we had out there. One of my housemates -- I think it was Susan -- came out just as "Valentine's Day Is Over" came on, and made a comment to the effect that Valentine's Day wasn't over; it hadn't even come and gone yet. Rather than try to explain to her that the song isn't actually about the actual Valentine's Day, I probably sang a chorus of Ophelia's "Tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day" song from Hamlet.

(If it was winter of my junior year, I was probably reading Hannah Arendt. Coincidence, I'm sure.)

That year, I think I went to a movie with a couple of friends. The year before that, about 15 of us went to the opening night of Wayne's World, which was somehow perfect. The year before that, my Twin Peaks friends and I put together what started off as an anti-Valentine's Day thing, but became a mope-a-thon complete with brownies and a video of When Harry Met Sally.... The evening finished off with one of the men among us outside a window, holding up a boom box playing "In Your Eyes" so that we could pretend he was John Cusack, at least until the night proctor asked him to knock it off.

Senior year, a bunch of us went out to dinner, and someone's boyfriend gave the others flowers and me some candy, since my preferences were well-known. I think that was the last time I got anything for Valentine's Day.

In more recent years, I've either ignored the day or gone out with friends. This was another go-out-with-friends year. I met a bunch of my actor friends at Voda in Santa Monica, where I consumed what I think was one too many violet martinis. (I don't get drunk, really; it's more that my stomach starts to hurt.) We made our way to Barney's on the Promenade to order some food to soak up the booze, and stumbled into karaoke night.

At the bar, we'd been talking about how Chairman had seen the Killers in Vegas a couple of years back, when they were still just a bunch of kids in makeup blowing the roof off a little bar. Someone asked if he'd heard a particular song, so Chairman and I sang a verse. "What?" I said. "There's always karaoke in my life, even when there's not music."

So of course I signed up.

After I finished my food, I ripped through "Torn," which I'll always thing of as an Ednaswap song, because I'm just that cool and indie and stuff. It was a silent dedication to the guy who'd held up the stereo in college. Had I known he was going to hurt me that fall, I might have made a move on him that night. I was never really into him as more than a close friend, but if you're going to get your heart broken, you might as well have something to point to as the beginning of the end. Saying that he was a friend, and then he wasn't, doesn't really capture why I was so upset for so long. Now it's just something that happened. (And something that he probably doesn't even remember.)

So, anyway. That's me. Still single. I'm not upset about it or anything. I have so many wonderful people in my life that I'm not wanting for emotional connections, plus there's something nice about not having to let someone know when I'll be home.

Just a little wistful, I guess.

Hey, look -- Valentine's Day is over. I hope those of you who are in love had a lovely one with your beloved. For me, it's just another holiday that I don't really celebrate, but always end up doing something on anyway -- because deep down, even though I'm generally content, there are just some days where I don't want to be alone.


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