Sunday, February 15, 2009

The 'good' and 'bad' of yesterday's Valentines Day ...

This will be a long post. Yesterday, "Valentine's Day", was a mix of good, fun, interesting and ... what can I say ... unexpectedly and unanticipatedly upsetting?

I'll tell you first about the good/fun/interesting part ....

I spent the day-into-night surrounded by hundreds of red roses and different flowers (lilies, tulips, chrysahthemums, etc) as I worked, along with another friend, in our friend Randy's flower shop in Gulf City. When I'd first heard that he had a flower shop I got excited and said I wanted to spend a day in it, working ... preferably doing deliveries. I wanted to see peoples' faces when they received their blooms. He told me that V-Day, along with Mother's Day, is the busiest day and he would definitely need the help. That's how I ended up there ...

This new in-the-shop experience was interesting to me, observing the mass phenomenon which on one hand can be seen as people wanting to be 'romantic' and on the other hand can be interpreted as: "I HAVE to buy flowers for my woman or else ...!!"
Due to the economic situation and "belt tightening" there were apparently not as many customers as usual/as expected. On V-Day the shop is normally a buzzing hive of activity way up to closing hours. Yesterday there were less, but still a steady stream. Mainly men came in to buy flowers. Their expressions ranged from stressed, confused, scared, embarassed ... to innocent, hopeful, eager, cassanova-ish.

Some would come in and mumble something quickly under their breath, forming an entire sentence into one incomprehensible word:


... seemingly embarassed to be buying flowers. Akin to going to a supermarket to buy tampons or sanitary pads.
Some men, upon buying the flowers, were embarassed to walk through the mall with them. One girl from my French class (small world) came in with her brother who was buying a bouquet for his girlfriend. He was shy about buying them and embarassed to walk through the mall with them after purchase. He wanted his sister to hold them and she said "No! You have to." As they left, I noticed him walking with the flowers in front of his face.

Most of the men had interesting ways of asking for flowers ... almost like cave men. One man came in and said simply: "Ah want flowers."

One man came in, cast a swift glance around, pointed to rose bouquets awaiting collection in a corner and said: "Gimme one ah dem ting like dat."
One man came in, pointed to some helium balloons and said: "Gimme wanna dem."

Hmmm ... very eloquent.
(N.B. I'm only highlighting the ones I found were funny. Some were quite normal, politely asking asking for advice on what to get, etc.)

Some of them didn't know what to write on the little gift cards. They get people in the store to come up with words and write their messages for them. I wondered: what does a man say when a woman gushes over a beautiful message that he knows he didn't write? Some of them wrote their own simple messages ... basically To (woman's name) From: (Their name) ... and some would add something extra like "With Love". One man stated that he had to go away and think about his message, but he knew "some Brian McKnight songs so would put in some of those lyrics."

Some men looked like they were under real stress. Buy flowers for your woman or die! I watched in fascination, actually feeling quite sorry for them, realising that (some!) women are very difficult and demanding! I don't think men in general have it easy!!!

I observed people streaming past the shop door, along one of the main corridors of the mall, like robots programmed to buy buy buy. Never before had I sat for so long in a mall, deliberately observing the masses, seeing the drama unfold before my eyes. Made me glad I'm not a slave to the commercial, material world. I noted many women, clearly in their element, walking confidently ahead, determined to buy (0r be bought for) ... with 'their man' slowly trailing behind, looking unenthused and submissive. A kind of "Is Valentine Day. If ah eh come wit she and buy she ting ah go be in trouble."

One man, who came in later in the afternoon to buy roses, said: "Gorm! Ah already get cuss!" I asked him: "Why? Because you didn't get her anything?" His response: "No! Ah order de ting! Look it dey! But ah now comin' to collec! She cussing because she ent get it yet!!"

There's much more to say about that experience, which was interesting, enlightening, funny, endearing ... Glad I did it. A new experience to add to the growing list. I even got to make two or three deliveries to various women who worked in the mall ... and (with my friend Gab, who had popped in to see me), spontaneously gave a rose to a little mentally challenged girl (or very short woman?) who, upon receiving it, folded her arms, twisted her face into a horrible grimace and growled emphatically: "I HAAAAAAAAAATE FLOWERS!!!!!"

Well ...

to cut a long day-into-night short ... let me now tell you about the 'bad' part of the day.


Let's just say that something important to me broke at 9:30 a.m. ... and it wasn't my heart.

It was my brand new, lovely, trusty and might I add expensive digital SLR, Synchronicity ...


I was sitting in a food court, waiting for a friend, Lee, to come and pick me up to head south to the flower shop. I was taking my camera at request of my friend Nish who said "Go and take some nice shots of the store for Randy!" Before leaving home, something was telling me not to bother ... because I was already carrying a cooler with my raw supplies for the day. But ... I went against my instincts. My camera was on my lap in my (padded) camera bag which, as I thought, was strapped around my neck as always. But when I stood up to greet Lee, the camera bag dropped to the ground. I thought nothing of it because it wasn't a hard drop, it didn't drop far (12 inches, if that far) and the bag is padded.

When we reached Gulf City and were in the carpark, I took out Synchronicity to take a shot of some hearts in a window display. I clicked as usual and then went to look at the image in the LCD screen. I saw a set of lines and a strange black blob and NO IMAGE!!! "What?" I thought, thinking it was just that shot. No ... the LCD screen is completely conked out with those lines and strange dark shapes, looking broken within! Aaargh ...!!
This is what my LCD screen now looks like ...
almost like the curtains opening on a stage for the play to begin.

There's nothing for me to say. I can take it for someone to look at it on Monday ... but from what I see, it doesn't look good. I could send it back to the US for repairs, but ... often the cost of doing that could be more than the cost of buying a new camera. I'll have to investigate all possibilities and move swiftly on my best option. After all, I do 'need' my camera.


As you can see from the shots in this post, I can still take photos with the camera ... but I can't look back at the images I took (until downloaded to laptop) and can't use the menu display, etc without the LCD screen. When I really think about it ... that's just like using a non-digital SLR. You don't get to see the images until you develop them ... and you just have to know what you're doing manually to get your shot.

But ... I still miss my LCD! I want to see my controls and to look at the image firectly after and make sure it's what I want!
That first shot I took (after 'the fall') ... when I realised that something was seriously wrong with the LCD screen.
Immediately thereafter, wildly taking pics of anything (here, car door) to see if LCD was really damaged.
My friend Gab, who came to visit me in the flower shop. This is her face, still in shock, when I was showing her the camera and clicking to demonstrate that it could still most likely take shots. She looked more upset than I did.
Angel in flower shop.


meadysmusings said...

Sorry about your camera we all lose out when you cant use it! If all the pics in the blog were with it broken it still works well though! And you still used it well as it! Of course yep you don't want to be missing out on all the wonders of modern day technology when you take the shots!

As for the rest of the story I thought that was also the bad part! To me it continues to show how very little love people have for each other especially on valentine's day! None of what you described is love...of course you said you just talked about the bad and extremes. I'm sure the ones really in love if they chose to buy flowers for each other or man for woman only they would have been quiet in the store and perhaps not stood out! But you would have picked up the vibe though...

BTW what's wrong with the angel in the flower shop's eye?

meadysmusings said...

BTW it's a pity though cause...ONLY LOVE IS REAL and there is so little of it in the world these days!

Elspeth said...

Well Meady, I agree with you/understand what you're saying in the commercial sense ... "Can't buy me love" as the Beatles sang. Everyone understands and expresses Love in different ways. While it's nice to receive flowers, it shouldn't be a duty or pressure. But ... some of that pressure I think comes not from 'having' to buy, but perhaps not knowing what to buy. And maybe the man who says "Gimme wanna dem ting" is just saying it that way to appear super 'macho' to people in the store (in a 'real men don't buy flowers unless they have to' kind of way) ... but loves his girlfriend in the way that he thinks is best or knows how to - by providing for her, taking care of whatever needs to be done, "good living and loving" as he sees it ... I don't know. Everyone is different. I think Valentine's Day, like Christmas Day has many expectations attached to it - and unfortunately some people (not all) judge how much they are loved based on how much a gift costs, how many gifts they get, etc.

Lynn Cohen said...

First I am laughing at the men and their clumbsiness at buying flowers for their loved ones. Too funny! I'm glad there were also others who knew the drill! LOL

I am so very very very very sorry that you dropped your dear camera.
I do understand your angst about this being a true lover of my own camera!!!! I hope this is fixable. Obviously not on warrenty? I have bought and USED them in the past, but did not buy one for my present camera...just too expensive on top of the already too expensive camera. At least you can still take pictures! It could have been worse?


Elspeth said...

I called Sony in the US and spoke with a rep, explaining everything. My camera is sill under its 1 year warranty and luckily the LCD can be replaced. The rep says I can send the camera up to the service centre in Texas. I'll have to look more into that and see about it next week.

meadysmusings said...

Oh Ok that sounds great then about your camera! I bought insurance from my Dell laptop but dont figure I will in the future as Lynn says wasn't worth the money esp as I really use my laptop as a desktop or well bedside top! Mostly so...very unlikely it will get damaged by me throwing it down or throwing water on it never it is great that they will let that be covered by the warranty!

I dont know I think the whole Valentine's malaise is very different or deeper or worse than the Christmas one! Christmas has a lot of lot of good that comes of it still...people open their hearts for Christmas in the right ways even though many see it as me Valentine just reaks of guys buying these token things so they can get some! Of course will be exceptions etc but to me the sell of it comes over like is fine but even in a committed relationship or a marriage when it is seen as something where you have to behave well by doing such and such and then you will get such and such well it just stinks to me and is so so the lowest level of love! But then I guess let's face that is a little bit of the reality in most relationships...the manipulation!

With Christmas the love is always higher I find even if some get caught up with treats and gift giving...I know many couples in love who don't celebrate Valentine's day cause they say everyday is about that...I see their point but Im all for there being a day where you go out and express it singlemindedly although again one can say every day should be that way but sometimes we forget...but not the way it is marketed currently!

But then I know I'm an idealist when it comes to this so...

Elspeth said...

Well ... right now I don;t know what to think with the camera. I called back the service centre ... and the 2nd rep also said it might be covered, but you never know. They will tell me if there is a cost. But boy, just looking at their costs for out-of-warranty repairs alone! Gulp ...

Re V-day vs Xmas, yes you're right.

And yes, every day should be 'Love' and any day can be/should be/is a day for gift giving to the Loved One ...

meadysmusings said...

I guess it is why my last two laptops were Dell although people find it is of a lower grade but I went with them because they have a special set up for sales to this region. Albeit we get the worse end of the deals etc...but that way I could have gotten the warranties and the insurance etc etc. But as I've been saying dont know if was necessary so my next purchase might just be at some North American store.

If you can't get your camera fixed on the warranty you should let us know! Maybe all your readers and friends could chip in to help you get a new one or the cost of fixing! After all we all enjoy yours pics and you've helped many of us by doing photos for us for free! So let us know! Well at least let me know! If you're OK with that of course...And I guess that would truly be in the spirit of Valentine! :)

Elspeth said...

Wow, Meady! What a generous offer for you to make. Very kind. Thanks for the thought. I'm not sure what I'm going to do ... but whatever it is, I intend to have a 100% working camera in my hands within the next 2 weeks for the latest.

Pearl said...

Love to step in as a fly on the wall and see all those encounters with flowers unfold.

hope your camera gets well soon.

Elspeth said...

Thank you Pearl (of wisdom)