Last Saturday was Valentine’s day, a strange holiday with lots of strange sentiments attached. I had the novel experience of being offered a flower by a stranger. A young man in the room was giving roses to everybody, even to people he didn’t know. He walked up to me with an outstretched rose and said with a radiant smile, “Happy Valentine’s day!” I felt instantly like a child, maybe five or six years old. I took the flower as if it was a candy-cane that I had been offered for Christmas.
It was a funny, innocent feeling, and I couldn’t help smiling all through the day. On the subway, I dangled the flower conspicuously in my childish fingers and amused myself with the quizzical glances that I got. Then I wondered, why don’t we all offer flowers to strangers? It’d be fun, wouldn’t it?
People must think that it is too childish; for when we were in elementary school we passed around cards on Valentine’s day, even to the classmates that we didn’t know so well. Perhaps it’s more grown-up-like to have flowers carry immense meaning and nuanced emotion.
But I can’t help but think, isn’t it more fun to lighten up the burden that the word “love” carries around? Maybe, next year, we can try it. There’s no harm in reminding our fellow humans of the universal love and joy that we all knew as children.