Valentine’s Day is Subversive

Well, we’re having what my father would have called a bit of a ‘divarsion’ from the politics for the last few hours. Peggy’s gone on to another of her hobby horses ‘St. Valentine’s Day’ and how thick people are to fall for such an American gimmick. She has her knife rightly into the Americans for some reason at the moment.  She has no time at all for it, thinks it’s the greatest load of codswallop since we allowed Halloween to be hijacked by all that American nonsense, says it’s only a way of making a fast buck for the shopkeepers, the hotels and the florists and anyone who participates in it should be downright ashamed of themselves. I tried to point out to her that it’s a godsend for business people who have it tough most of the year, a chance to make a few well-earned bob and shure, what harm is it anyway, only a bit of fun. But Peggy, as you know, is a woman of strong opinions and was having none of it. So I thought it best to shut my mouth and listen as she ranted on. At least, it makes a change from her political rants on Enda and Joan and Gerry and Michéal. It also gives me a bit of a break from her aversion to Fianna Fáil’s Baldy Biggane, for the moment anyway. God knows, she’ll be back to all that fast enough seeing that there’s another two weeks left to the election.

So she stands there in the middle of the kitchen with her legs planted firmly apart as if she’s giving a party political broadcast. Remember,  like they used do long ‘go from the backs of lorries and trailers outside the church after mass. To be honest, I think the woman should go in for political office herself, she’d certainly give the others a good run for their money up in the Dáil. Even Shane Ross would have a hard time getting a word in edgeways with her.

Valentine’s Day, she says must be the most idiotic of the many idiotic occasions we’re after selling our soul for in this country. Husbands and wives who spend the rest of the year pasting each other around the kitchen and getting barring orders, there they are now, all lovey- dovey inside in restaurants paying through their noses for food they’d get below in Lidl for a fraction of the price. She says ‘tis many the time she’s been inside in Super-Value getting a few messages when in comes some fella and it nearly closing time. Next thing she sees him grabbing a bunch of wilting, limp flowers for E1.99 and telling the shop assistant that herself will be disappointed if she doesn’t get something, being the day that’s in it. She says she thanks her lucky stars she was never tempted to make that trip of ruination down the aisle herself because if any man belonging to her turned up with an offering of flowers that looked three days old, she’d crown him with the bloody things, so she would.

Then throwing her arms out in front of her, she asks, what’s the sense in going out to eat on a night when all the prices go through the roof?‘ If they want to go out,’ says she rhetorically, ‘why can’t they go the night before or the night after like any sensible people?’  She says she’ll never understand people –like,  why won’t the husband prepare a meal at home for the wife or lave her in bed to sleep in of a morning or take out the children to give her a bit of peace for a few hours? Shure, why can’t they be nice to each other during the other 365 days of the year? Fecking bleddy eejits,’ she says.

Here I just manage to get a word in to say it’s the romance of it, just for the wan day like, She looks at me as if I’m a farthing short of the full shilling and raises her eyes to heaven. Romance, she snorts, romance, my arse, aren’t we Irish, aren’t we, and since when did the Irish fecking start doing romance? For Christ’s sake, will you ever have a bit of sense for yourself, girl.!

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