Monday, February 14, 2011
The Heart of the Matter
Ugh, Valentine's Day. Apparently he's the patron saint of lovers, but I'm beginning to suspect that he's the patron saint of florists, chocolatiers and card companies. When I first moved to Germany in the middle of the 1990s, both St. Valentine's Day and Hallowe'en were practically unknown and viewed with suspicion as nasty, Anglo-Saxon, madey-uppy kinds of holidays that had no place in the German tradition. And to a certain extent they were right. Germans got along perfectly well without either of them - German children managed to survive childhood without the opportunity to trick or treat, and I'm more than certain that the vast majority of people who are made to feel inadequate about their singledom in the midst of this heart-and-candy cornucopia would manage quite nicely without it, too. But in the past decade, both holidays have become increasingly common and particularly the latter has been snapped up with gusto by chocolate / card / flower / trashy knick-knack companies that see an opportunity to make a few bucks.
Nonetheless - and this is the inherent evil of Valentine's Day - one wakes up hopefully on the morning of this Unholyday and checks for chocolates ... just in case. And, inevitably, my snooping for pralines (which, I must confess, would put a truffle pig to shame) ends in vain. Why does this surprise me? I don't know - but it does. Every year. Valentine's Day has that effect on people: there's a chance that chocolate might be involved and it's impossible not to get your hopes up. But, really, I should know better: Mr Gingerbread used to get very het-up about St. Valentine's Day: he used it as an excuse to launch into a rant with all kinds of -isms. Its basis is in commercialism! cultural imperialism! globalisation! (not strictly an -ism, but it's a main thread of his rant.) And, essentially, he is protesting against all of these evils by ... wait for it! You're going to be surprised by the extent of his political activism! ... by ... yes, wait for it ... doing nothing! There - that surprised you, didn't it?
Nowadays, he's mellowed. I still didn't get chocolates today but, thankfully, I was also spared the rant. When I pointed out that today was Valentine's Day, he puckered his lips, plunger-style, and leaned in for a smacker. The extent of our romantic interplay was me beating him off as he dived on me with big, moist, fishy lips for a "Valentine's Day kiss" (never have three words sounded so ominous. Shudder.) But true love is not dead in the Gingerbread Household: I made him a cup of tea and gave him three of the remaining five chocolate chip cookies (and if you knew us, you would understand why this is a big deal) and he let me sleep for ten minutes longer this morning (again, see comment in parenthesis above). In Gingerbread terms, these are tokens of unbridled passion, so I really shouldn't fuss.
Now I'm off to check the cupboard with cereals and dry goods. Maybe he hid my chocolates in there.
Posted by The Gingerbread Lady at 8:29 PM