Traffic at the shopping center Wednesday evening was backed up
as though it were Christmas Eve. People were streaming from the party
store with balloon bouquets. Little children held the ribbons for
Mylar balloons in one hand, while holding onto mom with
the other as they navigated traffic in the parking lot.
Since the New Year, stores have been stocking wares
for the annual assault on the objects of our love with brightly colored
ribbons streaming from balloons, flowers, and chocolates. They've caught
our eyes as we walked through the produce department, building
our anticipation, adding beautifully arranged bouquets of
myriad flowers as Valentine's Day drew closer.
The whole flower department looked like a carnival
of commercialized amore. Rows of stuffed animals leaned,
appealing to the soft, paniced hearts of shoppers,
the purple heart on the rear of one fluffy pup
symbolizing the affection of a wagging tail.
Step right up! Take a gamble! Don't pass by the chance
to win your sweetie's undying love ! Buy! Buy! Buy!
On one shelf, I saw clear plastic cartons, usually meant
for a dozen roses, that had been filled instead with
six cans of beer arranged on a bed of shell peanuts
and wrapped in a big red bow.
In the distance, I could hear a lone banjo