This post was originally written in 2006. I added my own response and rebuttal to the remarks I made here in a February 2014 post.
Its that day. February 14th. Valentine’s day.
For women across the Western world, it’s a day of boxes of chocolates, roses, hugs, kisses, dinner and a night of sensual love afterward. For men its steak and BJ day, which is also every third Saturday, coincidently. Who is the real winner here?
And for me, February 14th is a day of reflection as due to my upbringing and personality, I’ve made a very conscious choice to have no friends in the flesh and hey, I’m perfectly happy with it most of the time. I live my own full life as I wish it and I really don’t get the whole stigmata behind being a social extrovert, or a loner, to all you non-PC types. Really. I’m not fucking Gollum, I don’t go sneaking around at night from a basement, stealing women’s underwear from washing lines and bringing them home to sniff them and mutter about “precious…” under my breath. Most of the time. I kid. Somewhat.
I digress. So on this day, I see the lovers strolling hand in hand through the bright spring daylight…and by that I mean “huddling together in the drizzling rain,” and it puts me into a reflective mood: What would my life be like if I hadn’t made the choices I have? Oh, most of the time I have the internet to turn to. I have true friends out there whom I’ve never met in the flesh and probably won’t either. I participate in many communities, big and small, mainstream and exotic. Irish groups, Linux groups, gaming groups, photographic groups, Irish Linux gamers who enjoy photography groups. And so on! Cory Doctorow has written brilliantly about online communities in Eastern Standard Tribe an excellent and freely available work. Download it and read it if you are a self-respecting geek. The catch with an online life is that anyone with whom I might swap Valentine’s wishes with would live several time zones away.
And still I digress! I look at the happy couples hand-in-hand and look back at my own life and wonder how things would be if I hadn’t pushed away everyone who had been close to me outside of – and inside – my family. For all that I am a geek with a select range of interests, there had been women I had been close to and involved with to some degree. I wonder what would have come of things if I had called Helen back that one night or wrote to Cathie like I promised, and so on…
It doubly poignant for me as on this day last year I was off to Paris for a few days with a friend. The trip was very intentionally non-romantic and that it stayed, to our mutual satisfaction. But since then things between us have turned to a deep and mutual loathing over, which is something we equally hold blame for. What if we had just made that bit more of an effort to understand each other? Ah well, what is the past is ultimately the past. If I go digging too deep, reflection will turn into regret, which is always the great and evil poison at the edge of my life.
And to everyone with a Valentine there to share this day and night with you: You bastard. You lucky, lucky bastard.