Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Yin Gift

I seem to no longer have free internet at my apartment. And by "no longer free," I mean that no one in my building is dumb enough to leave their connection unprotected anymore. I only missed a blog entry yesterday because I did not have time to park myself at Starbucks. So today, because I trekked myself, my computer and all of my unwritten holiday cards 12 blocks to the Starbucks, I decided on the way that I could have an Egg Nog latte. I have been eyeing this drink since the Red Cups appeared a few weeks ago. Since I am a certified personal trainer, I know that the caloric content is enough to replace several meals. And as a personal trainer, I also know that my 12 block walk (which is really more like 8,) even with my 8 extra pounds of computer, (which is really more like 5,) does not negate this fact. So I have been saving it for a special occasion. But I can't think of one that would involve me sitting at Starbucks.

Anyway, the point is, here I am with my Egg Nog latte, (which is awesome, but really just makes me want ACTUAL egg nog,) trying to write two blog entries to make up for my not buying internet at home. So I thought I would do a little Yin Yang theme -- one present, but two ways to do it. The Yin is supposedly the female sign, and also the negative. Not like depressing, or Debbie Downer negative, but like the absence to the presence. Yin is the negative of the photograph, the shading in the features of a face. Yin is the set of keys I gave to M for our first Valentine's Day.

I need to give you a little background for this: I hate Valentine's Day. I am starting to appreciate it more and more, and it's wonderful to have someone do lovely romantic things for you. BUT, those things are much better when they are UNexpected. And now, (I say "now" like I'm an old person who remembers the time before Hallmark,) we have this day where you have to be romantic, which is sort of unromantic by definition. When strangers find out that I speak French, sometimes they will say things like, "Say something in French." Which is annoying. And if "You're a douchebag," didn't sound exactly the same in French, I would say that. This is what Valentine's Day is like -- telling someone to do something that they like to do, and therefore making that likable thing ordinary and douche-y.

M doesn't like Valentine's Day either, for the same reasons. And I think it's because we both feel this way that we then celebrate it by actually being truly, sickly romantic. Two years ago he surprised me with tickets to the Imax theater to see the U2 movie. Last year we went to a fantastic restaurant and had champagne at home. But the first year was the best. M made me leave my apartment, (and I went to Starbucks, obv.) where he cooked a beautiful meal, put raspberries in the champagne glasses and left a box of chocolates on the coffee table along with pink rose petals. He says now that since we had only been together for 4 or 5 months, he was still courting me, and that this is why it has never happened since.

We had decided gifts were unnecessary for V Day, but I knew he had this whole thing up his sleeve and I wasn't about to just show up and eat without some kind of present. So I decided that keys to my place were a good compromise. I didn't actually buy anything except the keychain. The keychain was Cubs-related, in honor of his favorite baseball team. (This may seem like a small thing, but my team is the Red Sox, so I opted not to shove this down his throat.) I copied the keys at Sears and I wrapped it all up and made a card. It was the card that made the gift. And I have no idea now what it said.

The best part of that Valentine's Day was that it somehow captured the unexpected within the formulaic holiday. I could never have expected the all-out effort of the traditional romantic dinner from someone who feels so ambivalent about V Day. And I don't think he expected a true relationship gesture from someone who gags at jewelry commercials. So maybe it's a little more Gift of the Magi than Yin and Yang, but we are a pair nonetheless.

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