Valentine’s Day is a hard holiday for Matt and me because we pretty much do all the things you’re “supposed” to throughout the week. We play games together, watch movies together, go out to eat together, and purchase little gifts for each other. Each year the two of us look at each other on February 13th and ask “So, whatchoo wanna do?” This year was no exception.
After coming home from work, Matt gave me a gift of boards that he gessoed for me. This would not appear to be a lavish gift, and maybe it’s not, but it definitely shows how much Matt knows me. Last weekend we visited a family friend who is an artist at the Torpedo Factory in downtown Alexandria. While I went to the bathroom (I must have the world’s smallest bladder), Guy Jones (artist and family friend) had given Matt advice on how to continue encouraging me to do art. He emphasized to me (and from I was told later, Matt) that I needed to stop doing art in a sketchbook and to move on to more show worthy materials. Matt knows full well that I would purchase the wood mats and the gesso, but never actually get around to gessoing and sanding the mats. In fact, I already owned the gesso, so there is some evidence for you. The fact that Matt knows I would never get around to it, and wanted to encourage me to continue working and elevating my artwork by investing his time in creating the gesso boards, is awesome!
My plan was to take Matt to Games and Stuff to purchase a game that he really enjoyed playing, Illimat. Unfortunately, it was not in stock (I later purchased it at Third Eye Comics). To make up for my botched gift, we went out to Crabtowne USA for dinner. This is a completely different place at night. Matt and I try to avoid crowds, so we typically sneak in there on Sundays right before church lets out to eat there for lunch. In the evening the place is lit up with these funky industrial lights, the place was packed, live music was playing. It was everything you would want from a dive (including the pinball tables). Together, we discovered their new seafood nachos appetizer and chatted about how “Baltimore” the other patrons were. For the record, being “Baltimore” is not a bad thing. There is just a certain energy, vibe, and look that Baltimore has. Watch a John Waters film if you need a quick glimpse of what I’m talking about.
Years ago, Matt had introduced me to pinball and it has since been my favorite medium for gaming. My favorite table is the new Ghostbusters table (like for real new. They are bringing pinball back like vinyl records, which couldn’t make me happier). I was so excited because, for the first time EVER, I got to put my initials into the score board. I had a really pathetic score, but somehow, some way, I beat Gozer (the woman dressed in plastic cling wrap with the red eyes and the flat top at the end of the first Ghostbusters movie. You remember her. Who couldn’t?). Beating Gozer apparently is a big deal (hell yeah it is!) and allows you to put your initials in. I was the FIRST to do it since they got the table (at least two years at this point).
They also had some other cool new tables, like Daredevil (there is a video game within the pinball table where as you get points, you fight Daredevil villains- fun concept, but not as awesome as Ghostbusters in my honest opinion), and a new Kiss (the band) table (the old one is still there). Matt got to play his favorite two tables as well: The Addams Family and Pinbot.
After our crab and nerd excursion (we’re from Meralyn’), we went home and watched Isle of Dogs (the Christmas gift I bought Matt. He wanted to see it in theaters and we never got around to it. I remember so badabing badaboom here it is!). Wes Anderson did an amazing job on this movie. I highly recommend it! It really highlights the love between a boy (and people in general) and their dogs. Fantastic.
In sum, if I were to extrapolate what Matt and I take from Valentine’s Day, is that it is an opportunity to get back to the essence of your relationship. It’s a time to reflect on what makes you as a couple, you. Dropping in and reminding each other of where you have been and where you are going. I can’t tell you how many times Matt and I will look at other couples and mouth the words “Thank God that’s not us.” And we like that about us. We like that we both enjoy the same nerdy things (although, often for different reasons). That we like quirky movies and relish in all things blue crab. I like how excited Matt gets when introducing me to something like pinball and how supportive and proud he can be of my art. I like having that support and the recognition that I often times have good intentions, but when it comes to doing things for myself, I’m not always the best at it. Having Matt notice and accept that without judgment is amazing.
For us, Valentine’s Day is not about the chocolate and the flowers (although neither Matt nor I will turn down dark chocolate and pistachio truffles). It is not about fancy restaurants (despite the duck at Iron Bridge being the best thing that I have eaten in my life). It is about expressing your love through living in your values as a couple. And maybe that’s why it has never been much of a holiday for us, but more of an every Thursday kinda deal. Not that I would take back this Valentine’s Day for anything!
Hope you all had a great time on your Valentine’s Day!