Last night as I waited on the metro platform at Takoma Park after yoga class, a large man in a shabby black coat came up to me and said, “happy thanksgiving.”
“Happy thanksgiving,” I replied, thinking I like Thanksgiving better than I like Valentine’s Day, even considering the somewhat unsavory roots of both holidays.
“Oops,” he said, “I meant ‘happy Valentine’s Day; I’ve been getting that wrong all day.”
“That’s OK,” I said. “Every day should be a day of thanks giving.” I had been enjoying the day fully even though I had not engaged in any Hallmark-driven behavior and was feeling fully grateful for my life and not just because of the post-yoga class glow.
“I don’t have anyone to give red roses to any more,” the man lamented. “My mother has passed; my grandma has passed. I don’t have a girl right now.”
“Your mother and grandma are still here in your heart, and they know you love them. They do not need roses,” I offered. “In fact, you have helped the world be a better place not buying any roses today. Most bouquets of roses are laden with pesticides and cut and wrapped by women in poor countries who get sick from the pesticides.” At this, a young woman watching me with commiseration lit up with a big smile. Who would start giving advice on the hazards of Valentine’s Day flowers — I restrained myself from talking fair trade chocolate — in this situation?
“You’re nice,” the man said, “what’s your name?” The metro was still not due for another eight minutes, and, being the introverted, cautious, small, middle-aged woman that I am and thus feeling a little pressured by his longing for someone to talk to, I did the verbal dance to extricate myself from the conversation and get back to the email I had been in the middle of reading. He went away peaceably, so it was alright.