I’d like to call that restraint but it’s really respect.
Anyways, we don’t Valentine.
Even though I love to shop, I roll by the ‘seasonal aisle,’ where for all other holidays I’m often seen prowling, without even slowing. I see tired people buying stuff and standing sort of embarrassed and sort of wondering why in line ups with their arms full of stuff that is somehow supposed to communicate, “I love you” better than words and I know that they know that nothing really does.
Today though, Joe and I had a particularly and peculiarly Valentines experience. Can’t say I’ve ever had one of those before, and I will admit it felt nice.
We’d been doing some shopping to pick up stuff to make dinner in our hotel. We stay in hotels, when we can, that have kitchens because we like to have some control over what we eat and as vegetarians it’s easier that 20 questioning delivery places about chicken stock and lard.
The fellow who was bagging groceries, a guy with Williams Syndrome was, not surprisingly, chatting with great animation with the woman in the line up in front of us. He spoke quickly, was very funny, and always looked to see how she was responding. She chatted right back at him, using his name, they clearly knew each other in one form or another.
Then we pulled into place he looked over to Joe, who was in front of me, and then to me. To our great surprise he said to Joe, “A happy Valentines to you and your partner!”
I saw him see the shocked look on our faces, I mean no one ever recognizes us as a couple, and I quickly said, “Thank you very much!” Joe added his thanks.
The clerk at the till, a young gay man, stopped, looked up from scanning and then scanned the two of us together buying groceries. He burst out into a grin and joined in the conversation.
It felt good. Not so much to be wished a “Happy Valentines” but to simply not be assumed to be either heterosexual or single.
I’ll take that over chocolate or flowers any day of the week.