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My Ironic Valentine

by Tina Mercado

Many things in life are unnecessary. Spoilers on Hondas. Feathers as hair accessories. The Bacon Explosion. Fergie’s dress at the Grammys. Pinkie toes. Axe Body Spray. Last but not least, I hereby proclaim Valentine’s Day the UGG equivalent of holidays.

Oh wait, but I have a pair of UGGs. Okay, you got me – I don’t mind Valentine’s Day. Though the holiday is inherently flawed, there is some part of me that is amused by the disproportionate “Bridget Jones’ Diary”-esque emotional burden that the holiday carries when it packs up all of one’s romantic failures, and mails them back to you on a day that is supposed to be about love. I eventually got over the awkward need to validate myself with heart-shaped gifts – which was good, because I spent many years without a legitimate Valentine’s Day date.

That being said, one of my most memorable Valentine’s Days was in 2007, the year that Boston got walloped by one of the worst blizzards I have ever experienced (oh here it is in Wikipedia – “February 2007 North America Blizzard”).

“The February 2007 North America Winter Storm (otherwise referred to as the Valentine’s Day Blizzard or Valentine’s Day Storm) was a massive winter storm that affected most of the eastern half of North America, starting on February 12, 2007 and peaking on Valentine’s Day, February 14.” Source: Wikipedia

Snowfall reached as high as 4 feet in some areas. I found myself heading to work that Valentine’s Day morning, only to have the city call a snow emergency mid-afternoon. Panic settled into the city. People hopped into their cars and jammed up the streets as the snow fell at an alarming rate.

“Ugh screw this traffic,” I said. “I’m going to Randie’s house”. At the time, my friend Randie had an awesome studio in Boston’s Back Bay, on a little side street right in between the Christian Science Museum and the Berklee School of Music. In her cozy studio was a big, comfy futon, upon which I had plenty of experience passing out.

As I walked into my friend’s studio, I can only imagine that she said something sarcastic and obnoxious such as “Gosh, you look horrible. What happened to you?” She has been a very good friend for a long time, and that’s just how she is.

That evening, forgetting that it was Valentine’s Day, I was craving Thai food, so I called an order for pickup at Island Hopper on Mass Ave. I recall walking into the nice restaurant by myself, caked in snow and disheveled by the wind, waiting for my food amidst happy couples in evening-wear, sharing candlelit dinners. Next, I decided that I needed beer. Awkwardly, I walked into the almost empty liquor store, and carefully chose a cheap 6 pack. And a lighter, because I realized my car locks would be frozen the next morning. There I was, caked in snow, by myself, holding take-out, buying cheap beer and a lighter on Valentine’s Day. Paying for my goods, I realized that the liquor store cashier was looking at me with pity in his eyes – HE felt SORRY for ME!

I trudged through the deep, wispy snow back to Randie’s comfy studio. Her place was on the top floor of the brownstone walk-up. My body thawed, and then quickly overheated from the climb. Upon reaching her studio, I am positive that we made distasteful jokes about our epic singledom, as symbolized by the take-out food and cheap beer. Then, I think we watched Grey’s Anatomy or something like that before passing out.

Thanks to the blizzard, my friend Randie became my Valentine’s Day friend-date that year. It was really fantastic. Not only was she my date, but I got to spend the night, too! Ow-ow! Even though I’m in a relationship now, which means that I get to go on (the best)  actual Valentine’s Day dates (ever), Valentine’s Day in 2007 – the year the liquor store cashier felt bad for me – will always hold a special place in my heart. Randie and I still laugh about this day, and she will probably bring it up again every year at V-day. Anyways, Valentine’s Day really shouldn’t be about making a show of how much your significant other loves you. Instead, it should be a day when we realize how lucky we are to have good people in our lives.

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