It’s February. The month when couples have fourteen days to try to find the perfect way to express their undying love for each other. I guarantee most people will still be figuring it out on the 13th. If nothing else, they will buy a card.
Who’s idea was all this anyway? According to Wikipedia, there were numerous early Christian martyrs named Valentine, dating as far back as the third century A.D. During that time February 14th became a Christian feast day. The day’s association with romantic love started with Geoffrey Chaucer, the poet and author known for Canterbury Tales, in the 14th century. A time when courtly love flourished. By 18th-century England, the day had turned into an occasion in which couples expressed their love for each other with flowers, confectionery, and greeting cards. So I guess my theory of an extreme marketing campaign originated by the greeting card companies is now debunked. I still, however, have some big problems with greeting cards.
Firstly, do they ever really say what you want to say and how you want to say it. I personally hate buying (and receiving) cards with line upon line of mushy script-font endearments, exaggerated to the point where the total message could never be believed as a description of the traits of one single human being. No one is that perfect. Not The Doc, and not anyone else I know. And certainly not me. These verses come across as bullshit. I can’t buy them because I feel like I am lying and lying is not something I do easy. I want my card to say, without any mush and in plain English: I love you. You’re a good person; and by the way, thanks for still putting up with me.
These days I have a much bigger problem with greeting cards. Not just Valentine’s cards, all greeting cards. Have you gone to your local store and looked at the selection of cards lately? They are covered with glitter, velvety fibre, metallic writing, plastic ornaments, ribbons, tassels and cords, pieces of fabric, and sometimes musical mechanisms. None of these things are environmentally friendly. NONE! So when you purchase a card and it gets read and then trashed, because most of them do get trashed, parts of that card will be around forever. Other parts will be around for 450 to 1000 years. The glitter and velvety fibre will eventually end up washing into the oceans and into the food chains of many species. To add insult to injury, some of these cards are now displayed in plastic wrapping, which is also not environmentally friendly, but necessary to protect all those decorative elements that will end up in the landfill.
I admit that I still have to buy the odd card because what else do you get for your ninety-year-old mother on her birthday. In this particular case it’s a double dilemma because not only do I have difficulty finding one that won’t make me feel like a liar, but I also feel incredibility guilty because I know it will be in the trash within two days.
What we all do when we finally bite the bullet and choose the card is flip it over to check the price. Have you seen those prices lately? The price on my mother’s birthday card was one third to one half of the price of a bottle of wine. I’m talking your average middle-class bottle of Canadian, Californian or Australian wine. I kid you not. I was shocked. I am sure that the price of this recent card was a couple of dollars more than the last time I bought her a card, which must have been last May during my Mother’s Day dilemma.
Hopefully those who know me won’t be offended if a special occasion comes and goes and they don’t receive a card. I am buying them less and less these days. I prefer to make a phone call, send an email or a text message, or in the case of Christmas, a Facebook post. The Doc and I agreed last year not to purchase Valentine’s cards. This new tradition will be upheld again this year and for all years in our future. Our current plan is to skip the card, have lunch at a local cafe that is ten minutes away and overlooks the ocean at beautiful Lawrencetown Beach, and buy the wine. Yes the wine, which is a much better investment as far as I am concerned, and a much more environmentally friendly option.
Check out The Lawrencetown Beach Cafe here: https://www.facebook.com/lawrencetownbeachcafe/
Thanks for reading.