Today, after getting my picture taken for an upcoming project, I heard our calendar assistant calling my name.
“Ashley, Ashley, Ashley! Who loves you? Who loves you?” She motioned towards a green and brown box from Pro Flowers.
I smiled. I told her, without even opening up the box, that they are from my father.
“No they aren’t,” someone else in the newsroom said.
Before I knew it, I opened my box in front of a very captivated audience. Roses. And just as I thought, they were from my daddy.
Everyone else looks in the box. Ooos and ahhs followed.
“Who are they from?”
“My Daddy,” I replied.
That’s right. My Daddy sent me flowers. Not some love interest. Not some man pretending to like me. And not myself pretending that my "boyfriend" has sent me a special treat.
I didn’t think my audience was quite as captivated as they would have been if I’d told them they were from a boyfriend.
Tomorrow there will be more audiences crowded around unsuspecting (or suspecting) co-workers as they open their flower boxes or they get their teddy bears and chocolates.
There will be more ooohhhs and aaahhhss. And it won’t stop there. There will be questions of what the fellow worker will do for the holiday and who, exactly, is the gift from. The questions, of course, will be answered with a smile and details of what’s to come for the night.
And there will be no time to generate a true, private and personal reaction to the gift. Not really. Instead, time will be spent answering questions.
Friday will be even worse. Last year, I didn’t have the nerve to tell my co-workers I’d spent the evening arguing over dinner and helping my male friend pick out a flat screen television at Best Buy. It wasn’t romantic enough.
As much as I love Feb. 14 for being the official day to let another person know how much you care for them, I hate was it does to us. We get crazy. We start acting like we live on the set of some romantic movie. And when our loved ones don't get us the gifts we think we deserve, we get mad.
The day is not about caring, it's about the show--the stories we tell people, especially our coworkers.
There are the girls (and I call us girls because that's what we start acting like), like me, who grin and endure it. We answer the questions in detail. And we sometimes gather with others to see what another has been gifted.
There are other girls, too. Obnoxious girls. They flaunt their gifts and practically shout their Valentine’s Day plans for the entire world to hear. The girls like me only smile at their ridiculousness.
Then there are the bitter girls. These are the girls who are normally happy, but get depressed around Feb. 14. Any sign of love or happiness near V-Day makes them want to upchuck.
I’m not doing it this year. I will not participate in the craziness. I will avoid the show. It’s too much pressure.
I will celebrate my singleness with friends.
And I’m going to try very hard not to wish I was stuck in some romantic movie scene.