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A Valentine for the Earth

By Holly Hester

I hate Valentine's Day. There. I said it. And that doesn't make me an un-romantic person. It's just that my idea of romance isn't someone feeling forced to buy me flowers because it's a national holiday. What are we all, just a bunch of sheep? Don't answer that. Let's all just say Baaaaah.

Valentine's Day has always been a traumatic experience in my life. I remember in high school you could secretly buy someone a carnation and send it to her in class. This meant by the end of the day the most popular girls would be walking around barely able to carry all the carnations in their arms while the rest of us were slithering through the halls carnation-less like a bunch of untouchables in Les Miserables.

I remember the looks on the faces of the popular girls (most of whom were wearing clich├ęd cheerleader outfits). They tried to stay modest, but every molecule of their beings just screamed, "Too bad, losers." I would usually get a meager one or two of these secret carnations, and I always knew who they were from: a disturbing boy from the AV department who ate his boogers.

As an adult my Valentine's Day didn't get much better simply because of my disdain for receiving flowers. I would always forget to tell a boyfriend in advance that I hated getting flowers. And then Valentine's Day would roll around and there I would be with a plastered smile on my face saying, "Oh, they're beautiful! Let me put them in a vase so I can slowly watch them die over the next week, and then my cats can tip them over and my house can forever be infused with the smell of rotting water."

Now that I'm married my husband knows to keep it simple: salted caramels and a quiet, dark place away from children to eat them in.

But the real question is: What do I get my husband for Valentine's Day? Yikes. That's another story. I have always failed miserably on that one and end up just getting him a bottle of wine (and a quiet dark place away from children to drink it in.) This year, I thought I'd surprise my husband with a scarf that I knitted. But, with just two rows done, it looks like I won't be quite finished with it by Valentine's.

I thought I was just going to have to give up and get my husband a bottle of wine again, but fortunately, I was saved by an e-mail I got from one of my favorite eco-friendly clothing stores, Indigenous. It's a fair-trade company that sells clothes made with organic materials by artisans in South America.

I got my husband one of their rancher shirts. This is the first Valentine's gift I've ever given him that I've been excited about because I felt like I was doing some eco-good--not just sheeping along with the rest of the proletariat on this forced, unromantic, Orwellian holiday.

So Happy Valentine's Day, Bill.

Happy Valentine's Day, Planet Earth.

And Happy Valentine's Day to all the carnation-covered popular girls that I went to high school with. Losers.

(No, I'm not bitter at all.)

Holly Hester lives in Sebastopol and writes about life on her blog, Riot Ranch. Find her book, Escape from Ugly Mom Island!, on Amazon.

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