|by Matt Kloskowski|
J and I finally started dating many years ago on the weekend of February 3-5. The next week, I realized that Valentine's Day was upcoming and that most people would feel a ridiculous amount of pressure trying to figure out what was the right amount of gift/activity to do for a new relationship. Seeking to head off the waste of time interior debate for J and any potential anxiety, I launched into my soap box speech about the day and my feelings for it.
Whenever I've been required to do some sort of V-day activity in class or as a wing activity in my college dorm, I refused to play along and went my subversive way and made some variation of an I Love Oregon craft as that's my home state and Feb 14 is the anniversary when Oregon joined the good ol' Union. Through high school and college, I celebrated by wearing black and watching a violent movie such as Reservoir Dogs.
I haven't liked Valentine's day since the 6th grade when it stopped being just another holiday to get candy. If you're single, all the mass marketing of the day helps too many people to feel like a lonely loser. If you're in a relationship, there's too much pressure to spend on money trinkets or vast "romantic" gestures, etc. Kind of a lose-lose for the majority of people. I would rather celebrate a day that's personally meaningful any other time of year: a first date, a first kiss, the first "I Love You," a silly date that you both love simply because of its mathematics, etc. Halfway through my tirade, J developed an odd expression on his face. It took me a little bit longer to realize I might have stepped in it..."What's wrong?" I hesitantly asked. "Oh, you like the day, don't you?"
J explained that he had been excited because he had never HAD a girlfriend on Valentine's Day and had been looking forward to finally having someone to do something with/for. I felt like a heel for stomping all over but couldn't back track well enough, "We can still do something if you want! I just didn't want you to feel ridiculous pressure like I expected anything." But it was too late, he knew how I really felt.
A day or two later, J said, "I know, let's celebrate Ferris Wheel Day!"
"Ok!" I replied enthusiastically, "When is it?"
J smiled, "February 14th, the birthday of the inventor of the Ferris Wheel." and I just laughed.
We ended up celebrating that first Ferris Wheel Day by ordering a pizza and watching a non-romantic movie (admittedly I don't remember what movie it was). We realized pizza was a perfect food to represent the Ferris wheel - it's round with supportive spokes from the central axle. To this day, this is what we celebrate. This year, J has been very adorable about it...announcing almost two months ago that he knew where we would be eating our pizza this year. "It's a new place opening in January. It has a picture of a monkey! AND it's wearing a FEZ!!" Who could argue with that?