Valentine\'s Day At the Bk LoungeMy worst Valentine's Day experience was back in college. I was an engineering student-- a MALE engineering student to be precise, and everyone knows engineering studies
a) have no lives outside of math, science, Star Wars, and video games
b) cannot interact with women
right? ;) Of course, the above precludes anyone from *possibly* having a date (egads!) on Valentine's Day.
Well I broke the mold folks. Not only did I have a date, I had a girlfriend. A long-term one, to boot. And quite hot, to boot some more. Stereotypes be damned.
Anyways, my most difficult engineering class of the semester had its midterm coming up. Engineering classes are usually graded as follows: Midterm 40%, Final 50%, Homework/other 10%. In other words, the midterm meant quite a lot. And my co-horts were, well, they satisfied A and B above, so the level of class achievement was quite high, as was the peer pressure to perform.
So the midterm had a review session, which were generally very helpful in preparing for the actual exam. And when, oh when was this critical session planned? You guessed it good people, on February 14th. 7pm. I can't make this up. This is engineering life, but that's probably for another topic on here, let's keep this to Valentine's Day.
Anyways, after little hesitation, I decided that I simply *had* to attend this session, or I would eat myself alive worrying that I had missed some critical hint and was thus doomed to failure of the class (which was NOT AN OPTION). And that would, by some weird extension, cause me to resent aforementioned girlfriend, right?
But this left me in quite the quandary. I loved her to pieces and wanted to spend it with her, but I got philosophical and took the approach that it's a silly holiday and the love you share on a daily basis is far, far more important than what can only be mustered up on a given day out of the year.
So I went to the review session. I took notes, I listened, I focussed. Or rather, I tried to focus. As the clock ticked by 8pm, and then 9pm (!!!!), I felt sick to my stomach. But I didn't get up. I couldn't, there was important stuff being mentioned here.
By the time I got back to the dorms, it was nearly 9:45pm. I called up Liz, apologized, and told her I'd pick her up momentarily and that we would go out. Honestly, she was used to my priorities and I think she may have even been pleasantly surprised I still wanted to go out. So she said 'yes.'
So, as we didn't have cars, "picking her up" meant getting on my bike and going by her place, where she would then join me on her own bike. And at 10:15, we headed out to the nearby town, about a 15 minute ride away.
In somewhat blustery weather (biking in winter is cold!), we arrived to town. Except, it was now nearing 11, and everything was closed.
Well, not everything. One place was open.
So my girlriend and I ate at McDonald's, 11pm on Valentine's Day, and rode our bikes home. She never complained once, but in my head and my heart, I was feeling horrible. Utterly, completely horrible. Sometimes, you can see yourself make decisions that you know you are not going to be comfortable with, but you feel compelled to take them anyways. And instead of choosing one over the other, we look at our environment and blame it on external circumstances.
In retrospect, I don't know what I would have done differently, if anything. I did ace my midterm; maybe I would have failed if I hadn't gone to the review (the psychological impact of feeling like you missed out on something important might be enough to derail your knowledge). And Liz' reaction to the evening, her simple and accomodating love was intoxicating. However, I never knew if what I had done had some negative impact that she simply didn't verbalize or express-- I would have guessed it did, but since it represented a pattern of behavior, it was merely one more coal on the fire, so to speak, versus a flashpoint.
In any case, we went our separate ways after college. But I'll never forget that horrible Valentine's Day, stuck between a rock and a hard place between two very important things-- and the love of a person that made things like Valentine's Day worthwhile, even in spite of its impositions on our life.