Wednesday, February 15, 2006

February 14, 2006 – Black Tuesday

Let’s repeat my February 14th mantra, shall we? I hate Valentine’s Day (repeat consistently over and over)

There are some who have already determined that I’m cynical and sarcastic… and they may be right. I’m fairly certain that I don’t really care that much any more. But if you’re out to see what it is you can do to impress those around you, here are some great tips!

First… dress all in black. It is considered chic in Paris and will only make you appear slimmer… or so I’m told. I need all the help I can get in this area right now anyway, so an all black ensemble works for me! Of course, there is the fact that I may appear to either be headed towards a high-fashion runway… or the funeral of Johnny Cash… but I live in Nashville, so either option actually works.

Second… remind all your friends that you are wearing black for a reason. I mean come on… if you are taking a stand for something (the eradication of Valentine’s Day, for example) you can hardly allow your clothes to speak for themselves. You have a voice! You should be heard! It is probably a good idea to begin dropping little hints around the beginning of February so that your co-workers will not be completely caught unawares for your sudden mood change on the darkest day of all the year.

This will ensure that when you DO actually appear dressed completely in black, that you would not be mistaken for Morticia Adams or the Bell Witch.

Third… stay far away from little candy hearts with silly words on them. Far, far away. Why? What is the possible problem with such an American iconic Valentine candy? Well… the fact that it is THE American iconic VALENTINE candy is the first problem itself. The second problem is that it tastes remarkably like the chalk it is certainly derived from. Thirdly, having been forged from chalk in the first place, it leaves a residue that is not compatible with the black ensemble you are wearing; and finally, the words written on the chalky substance will only remind you of the things you are missing out on anyway (i.e. Kiss Me, Hug Me, Touch Me… you get the picture)

Fourth… Snarl at your supervisor when he does something as ridiculous as bring you flowers. Did he bring you flowers last year on February 14? No, he did not. Make a mental note that in 2007, you will do your best to schedule him out of the office so that he will not be able to make that mistake again. Forget that you were trying to be nice to him by keeping him close to home (and his wife) on February 14… and schedule him to take the depositions of 15 people of three different nationalities that will all require a separate translator. That should teach him.

Of course, you have the option of pelting said employer with the chalky candy hearts as he is walking away. I found that works as a good backup plan.

Next, you will have to deal with those “couples” in your life that really think it necessary to give you the “Oh, just wait… one day you’ll have a Valentine too” speech. Head’s up to those couples in the world… when you speak ridiculous phrases such as this to your single and not-dating friends, it is interpreted thusly: “Too bad you don’t get to grab that hot man over there and get your groove on… maybe one day you will, but I bought my mate/date flowers, so I’m gonna get lucky tonight… sucks to be you.” We already know it sucks to be us, stop reminding us about it on February 14, okay? We really don’t appreciate the sentiment.

Fifth… why not end the day on a high note and take yourself back to the YMCA for your next round of terrorist training (i.e. step aerobics)? If you do not have black gym clothes, that will be fine. You’ll see that there are not that many people who attend the Y on February 14, because they are too busy out purchasing overpriced floral arrangements and chalky candy. Skip right on in the door and head up to the track. It’s not even crowded there.

I went back to a step aerobics class, because nothing says “I love you” on February 14 like a well thought out and experienced heart attack. The first indication that you are in both the wrong place at the wrong time will be when Angie, Smyrna’s own answer to an Al-Quada operative states the following words: “This class is an intermediate to advanced class. That doesn’t mean anything except that there’s a little more choreography involved. Just hang in there and keep moving”. My brain should have interpreted that to mean “Cathy… keep moving right out of this step class.” However… the after effects of February 14 must certainly killed off a few too many brain cells and I stayed.

When my brain fires the “It can’t be that bad” synapses, I should begin to take heed. When my next thought was “I was in the marching band… I have rhythm… I’ll catch on”… I should have known I was headed down a slippery slope that had no chance for recovery. But… I marched on. I grapevined right and left. I threw the basketball. I box stepped and I did the three repeaters. I stomped and mamboed and cha-chaed. I walked around the world and I straddled and I wanted to die… mostly because while I was doing these steps Angie and the rest of the terrorists in the room were completing something entirely different. I told myself I was staying with it because I liked the dance music, but the real reason I stayed with it was because I knew at the 30 minute mark there would be a 30 second water break, and that was when I would hit the door running… or stepping… or cha-cha-ing my way out of the class and back to the real world where I am an overweight 40something single girl who hates Valentines Day.

I thought I was home free until one of the terrorists stopped me at the water fountain and said, “You aren’t LEAVING, are you?” I was at a crossroads… do I lie and say I need to throw up (oh, wait, that wasn’t really a lie, was it?) or do I confess my inability to commit to anything on February 14th, even a terrorist trained step class? I confessed… I was the second gunman on the grassy knoll.

“The intermediate class is a little out of my league.”

“Oh no… don’t say that. You were doing great! My first time in this class and I was falling off the bench. You’ve hung in there this far, you don’t want to leave now.” Yes, actually, I do.

Apparently the terrorists have been well trained in the art of persuasion, but I saw through the fa├žade.
“Maybe I’ll be back when I can understand the terms a little better and get the steps down. I need to return to the basic step class…” and my sofa… and my Ben & Jerry’s…

“Well… I think you were doing great. Just don’t give up, okay?” (Happy cheerleader smile)

“Okay… I’ll see you again real soon.” Yeah right. (Not-so-happy painful grimace)

To end your day… try to walk your wobbly knees back to the Ladies Locker Room and then stare fixatedly at the combination lock that is securing your possessions. Your car keys are in there… the way to freedom. Focus on those numbers. What were those numbers? There are three sets of them… you know what they are… focus, focus, focus… something Right… two more turns Left… back to the Right and the lock will magically open…

Dang… do it again. Focus… I know it is hard with all that sweat pouring into your eyes, but you want to go home again, don’t you? Oh wait… that’s not your locker. Take one step to your left and pray that the person coming in the door doesn’t think you to be a thief.

Bend yourself into your car and pray to the fitness gods to allow you to get home before you (1) throw up or (2) pass out. Get in the house and cool your body off before you hop in the shower… while you silently pray for Norman Bates’ mother to appear and slash you to ribbons. It will be a much more fitting way to end the day and less painful than having to endure February 14, 2007 – or Black Wednesday.