Whatever you do, don’t get me a Kindle for Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day, but I’m not expecting much, mainly because I told the hubs not to get me anything.

You can call me a Valentine’s Scrooge or the “b” word or any number of nasty things, but the truth is the hubs and I have a checkered Valentine’s past.

Our very first Valentine’s Day together was a Mars-Venus event. That was in 1990. We were in college and had been dating about a month. Matt planned a date, and I assumed it would be a romantic dinner. I mean, he’d sent this gorgeous bouquet of a dozen sweetheart roses. Eleven were red, but one was white – because I’m one of a kind (awwwww…..).

So I waited for him to pick me up at my apartment. I was wearing a red corduroy jumper and a white blouse with a big collar (it was 1990, remember – end of the preppy era.) White tights. Black flats.

He showed up dressed a lot more casually. He was thinking bowling.

We’re both vague on the details now, but the night wasn’t a huge waste. We were young and in love and didn’t have many cares. By the next Valentine’s Day, we were engaged.

I don’t remember every Valentine’s Day between then and now, but we’ve had a few misfires.

And that’s OK, because really, I think Valentine’s Day is sort of contrived. I mean, sure it’s nice that people go around in the middle of February, the shortest but most boring month, telling each other they love each other and such. But shouldn’t they be doing that all the time and without expectation of receiving flowers or candy or expensive greeting cards?

So over the years, Matt and I have given each other little tokens. He often sends flowers. I buy cologne. Since we’ve had kids, we usually include them in our Valentine’s Day plans because what are they but a manifestation of our love?

Except there was that one Valentine’s Day about six or seven years ago. A few weeks earlier, the pre-Blackberry Matt was extolling the virtues of his Palm Pilot. It kept him organized. His calendar was in the palm of his hand! He could synch his calendar with Outlook, keep his appointments, make lists – all with a device in the palm.of.his.hand. Wow.

Blah blah blah. So finally, he suggested maybe I should get one.

Dude. I was a stay-at-home-mom with a baby and two kids in elementary school. The most pressing schedule I needed to keep was knowing when to feed the baby. I left the house around 9 a.m. to walk the kiddos to school. Took the baby to Kindermusik one morning a week. Went to the grocery store after. Got my hair cut every couple months. Made it home to watch Ellen at 3 p.m. before picking up the kids around 4 p.m.

Wow. Did I really need a handheld device to keep track of all that excitement? I didn’t think so. I mean, it would take me longer to figure out how to use the dang thing than it was worth. And I didn’t have room in my brain for that useless information. So I vehemently, I thought, made my point.

Well, comes Valentine’s Day, and what did I get? You guessed it: a Palm Pilot.

I was speechless. I really was. Because apparently Matt had not listened to one word I’d said. And that conversation had lasted an hour, I swear.

But here’s where Ms. Nice Guy left the room. Did I politely accept the Palm Pilot and move on, like I did a few years later with the iPod I never use? No. I was a little rude, I think. That wasn’t my intent. But for crying out loud, I had specifically said I did not want a Palm Pilot and then there it was, staring up at me. And I didn’t care that he got it for a steal. I threw a bit of a hissy fit.

I realize now that I might have overreacted. I hurt Matt’s feelings, I’m pretty sure. I know he was just telling me he loved me by giving me something that was such a help to him. My feelings were hurt, though, because he’d not really been listening to me.

Now the Palm Pilot is an inside joke between the two of us, just like the power washer I got him for Father’s Day and the Weed Eater he got me (but mainly himself) for Mother’s Day.

And now, 21 years after our first star-crossed Valentine’s Day, we’re not observing it, except to tell each other what we don’t want. For Matt, it’s an iPhone and a turtleneck. For me, it’s a Kindle. And a pair of Pajama Jeans.

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