Reprinted and edited slightly from original publication in The East Hampton Star on Feb. 15, 2012
Carrie Ann Salvi
It’s Valentine’s Day as I am asked to write this “Relay,” as I listen to “That’s the Way Love Goes” by Janet Jackson on my “love” playlist, chosen for inspiration, I assume today will be standard: Single female goes through the day trying not to be repulsed by those who get excited about a silly holiday.
No, I am not bitter about not being in a serious relationship at the moment. Even when I was, for example, when I was married for 11 years, I never comprehended the day. Why do people need a day to show each other how they feel and go out to dinner? I guess I was always fortunate to be involved with men with whom expressions of love and dinners out were a fairly regular event, without a calendar or Hallmark telling us how and when.
I will admit the holiday was fun when I was little. My dad would place four small heart-shaped boxes of chocolate on the dining room table, in front of me and my three sisters’ designated seats, with a big heart-shaped box at one end for my mother. It was reliable and consistent, as is his love and support.
“The only guy a girl can depend on,” so they say. I don’t really believe that entirely, but my dad surely was always there when I needed him, and I can’t say that for many other men.
Back to present time though, or actually last night, when tales of dread were posted on Facebook about “V-Day.” I tried to help those in need and imagined today would be more of the same. This morning, however, when I checked in to the all-telling social media Web site, I found the inspiration I really needed. I was “invited” to a Share the Love fund-raiser at which those who attend choose a charity and donate to it.
Finally, someone is making sense of this holiday. I immediately went to wingsoverhaiti.org, donated through PayPal within seconds, and felt very satisfied. (Funny how Barry White came on as I wrote those last words — oh, the universe has such a great sense of humor.) Feeling grateful for the opportunity to use the day for good, I was then ready to start my regular Tuesday activities. What I did not realize was that it was time to begin the receipt of several unexpected text messages and e-mails.
The first was an offer to visit from a guy I met on vacation in Florida last month, complete with flight dates and numbers. I am not sure if this is what led to a slight loss of breath, or if it was my fear of commitment, or the fact that the e-mail was followed immediately by a series of texts from an ex-boyfriend who hopes I am “okay” and misses me. I had deleted him from my phone intentionally, so I was not aware of who was wishing me the happiest of silly days. I responded and then got caught up in his charm and his picture of his abs, which he said he had been working hard on at the gym.
I told him I hoped he was working on his brain as well and tried to salvage the joy of my morning ferry ride from Shelter Island, looking forward to arriving at work to go into my headphone-and-Mac writing escape world. Funny, the playlist shuffle just chose a song that he burned on a CD for me, back when we were dating, “They Got Nothing on You, Baby.” Oh, there were some good times.
Now it is starting to make sense why I’m excited about my evening’s Valentine’s Day plan of attending the Sag Harbor Village Board meeting and then writing about it. This plan is reliable and consistent, like my dad.