One hundred and twelve: Valentine's Day
Steve: Hi Jill.
Jill: Hi Steve.
Steve: Jill, you are six weeks away from being a mother.
Jill: Yeah, the big day.
Steve: How does that feel?
Jill: It feels good. I'm excited, I'm happy; I'm looking forward to it.
Steve: I can imagine it's exciting.
Steve: You know men never have that opportunity.
Jill: Oh I know, they're really missing out too.
Steve: We're missing out, absolutely. I am sure you'll have an absolutely beautiful baby and it will be a lot of work.
Steve: But make sure you get, you know, Chris to do as much as possible.
Jill: Yeah, yeah well...
Steve: I'm sure he will.
Jill: I mean he is great. No, he has lots of energy and he always helps out. He's by far not a lazy person and enjoys family, so that will be great. But he's away quite a lot right now for work, so I think I'll be using my mom quite often, actually.
Steve: And she'll be delighted to help.
Jill: Yeah, she's excited.
Steve: Well you know since we're talking about happy things we should talk about a happy day that happens around this time of year, which is St. Valentine's Day. I don't know much about the background of St. Valentine's Day do you?
Jill: Oh, you know, I have learned about it a couple of times in school I think, but I don't remember a lot to tell you the truth.
Steve: You know the great thing about the Web is that even as we're talking I can look it up.
Steve: You know Wikipedia, actually, is quite annoying because very often there the first thing that comes up and some of their stuff is lousy.
Jill: Well because I guess it's just a free site where anybody can go and put information on, right?
Jill: And so I guess it's not always accurate.
Steve: Anyway, it's there, so we shouldn't complain.
Steve: It's free and it's there and what they say is…if anyone goes to…if they Google Valentine's Day or St. Valentine's Day they'll find that Wikipedia is their first source of information and it says “St. Valentine's Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14th in North America and Europe. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine cards, presenting flowers or offering confectionary.” Like chocolates, like let's call it what it is chocolate, right?
Jill: Exactly, yeah.
Jill: Chocolates and candies.
Steve: Chocolates and candy. “The holiday is named after two early Christian martyrs” – that's not very nice – “named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the middle ages when the tradition of courtly love flourished.”
Jill: And Chaucer was a famous writer.
Steve: Pilgrim's Progress ? Didn't he write that?
Jill: Oh, I read that in grade 12 Literature.
Steve: Right, Pilgrim's Progress , the Maiden of Bath and all that stuff.
Jill: Yes, yes, yes.
Steve: Now, Jill, did you receive flowers or chocolates or anything?
Jill: I certainly did not. Chris is actually away right now, but Valentine's Day is one holiday he just absolutely doesn't believe in and refuses to acknowledge. I talked to him on the phone, but he made no mention of it and I didn't either. It's not really a big deal to me either.
Steve: It's not a big deal and there is a tendency for people to say well, it's some commercial thing. It drives the restaurant business or the chocolate business and stuff, but it's interesting to see that it actually has quite a long history. I don't know, you know, in how many countries it's practiced, but I know that in Japan St. Valentine's Day is very popular. You know what's great about St. Valentine's Day in Japan? The girls give chocolates to the boys.
Jill: I was going to say it's the reverse isn't it?
Jill: Don't they have White Day or something that's not as popular and it's supposed to be were then the men give the girls chocolates?
Steve: I remember. Maybe some of our Japanese learners will tell us about these customs. But I think that's a great custom, the girls give the boys chocolates.
Jill: Do most boys like chocolates as much as girls?
Steve: It doesn't matter, whatever; girls want to give me stuff. Hey, why not?
Jill: You're open to that.
Jill: I think it is actually just a nice little tradition. Through growing up my mom would always buy us kids a box of chocolates on Valentine's Day and we looked really forward to that. I think now it's become this big deal where some people spend hundreds of dollars and get spa packages and take their significant other to a really expensive restaurant and buy lots of flowers and I think that's a bit over the top. I think it's a really nice gesture to give somebody a little box of chocolates or a nice little card just to say I'm thinking of you or whatever, but I think a lot of people do go overboard with it nowadays.
Steve: Yeah, but if people enjoy it what the heck.
Jill: Yeah, that's right, yeah.
Steve: You know so much in life if we make a fuss about things that aren't important that's kind of nice.
Jill: Yeah, that's right.
Steve: We fuss about people's birthdays.
Steve: We talked about Japan. Again, our friend Wikipedia, here's what they have to say. “In Japan it has become an obligation” -- Jill, an obligation – “for many women to give chocolates to all male coworkers.”
Jill: All male coworkers.
Steve: All male coworkers.
Jill: Wow that could get expensive.
Steve: “This is known as giri-choko from the words giri ("obligation") and choko, ("chocolate"). This contrasts with honmei-choko; chocolate given to a loved one.” Aha, so in other words, if you get chocolate from a girl if she's a coworker, in fact, it means nothing.
Jill: Really, exactly.
Jill: She's just doing it out of duty not because she likes you.
Steve: Well that's right, sheesh! Anyway, now on March 14th men are expected to return the favor.
Jill: That's right. Okay, that's what I've heard of.
Jill: White Day, yeah. See, I remember a few things I've learned.
Steve: You know what? We should have rather than, you know, Valentine's Day we should have Cupid's Day. That's kind of, you know, Cupid; Cupid with his little arrow? That would kind of be more fun.
Anyway, so Valentine's Day Chris was away. You know because Carmen and I are practical, so we went out for dinner the night before.
Jill: When it wasn't so busy everywhere.
Steve: It wasn't so busy. Why would you go out Valentine's Day? We have a restaurant on the main floor here and I mean all of our own company parking spaces were occupied by people going to the restaurant and the restaurant was just jammed. I think the restaurants make a fortune on Valentine's Day and it's very crowded and it's difficult. That and Mother's Day are the two days of the year where it's impossible to get a table at a restaurant, so Carmen and I went the night before.
Jill: Wednesday night.
Steve: Wednesday night and then we had a nice bottle of wine at home Thursday night. We kind of get two Valentine's Days.
Jill: Yeah, no, that's great.
Steve: It's great. Last night on TV, you know, Carmen likes anything British.
Jill: The humor?
Steve: The humor, the accent, you know, so she watches Pride and Prejudice and all these things you know.
Jill: Oh yes.
Steve: And she loves them, but they had My Fair Lady on. Have you ever seen My Fair Lady the musical?
Jill: I haven't.
Steve: It's awesome and, in particular, Rex Harrison. It just came to my mind, but I thought while watching that movie people who want to learn English or who want to improve their pronunciation they should rent the video. Get the video My Fair Lady it is so funny. Rex Harrison speaks the nicest-nicest English-English and then it's all about how they try to get this poor girl to change her cockney accent pronunciation to a more, you know, high-class pronunciation. It's just a great movie.
Jill: So it's quite funny, right? Isn't it?
Steve: Oh yeah, it's funny. I mean there are scenes and very famous songs; very many famous songs. Her father who is a dustman…you know, I don't know whether…no, he's a chimneysweep; chimneysweep is what he is. He is so funny and the fellow they have playing that role is very, very good. Unfortunately, I don't think Audrey Hepburn was the right person for that role. First of all she doesn't sing. Carmen was mentioning…because I went to bed, but she watched to the end and they had the person who introduces the program explain that Julie Andrews also auditioned for that role and Julie Andrews was not famous at the time whereas Audrey Hepburn was. Audrey Hepburn is a big-name actress, so if you get a big-name actress it's likely a lot of people will come to watch the movie. Apparently, Julie Andrews was very, very disappointed.
Jill: Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music.
Steve: From The Sound of Music…
Jill: …who sings beautifully.
Steve: But she was not the attraction that Audrey Hepburn, so they had to get another singer to sing the songs that Audrey Hepburn…
Jill: …was supposed to be singing…
Steve: …which I think detracts from it.
I'll have to see that.
Steve: Oh yeah, it's great; it is a lot of fun, yeah. Anyway, those are happy events. I guess we were looking at local events that we could talk about. We had that very strange situation about a restaurant in an area of Vancouver that was blown up, they suspect, by an arson.
Jill: An arsonist, yeah.
Steve: An arsonist rather.
Jill: Just a couple nights ago at 2:00 in the morning, 2:00 a.m., apparently. Actually, this is just a few blocks from where I live.
Steve: You don't own insurance on that restaurant do you?
Jill: No. They don't really know what the motive was. They have a suspect because somebody was seen fleeing the scene; running away after the explosion and apparently was sort of on fire. I don't know what he…I guess call it karma, but I guess he managed to put the flames out and he got into a taxi and then ended up taking two taxis to get to a hospital and now has second or third-degree burns on 60 percent of his body and is in the hospital. I don't know, actually, what his condition is, but the police think that from surveillance videos and eye-witness testimony that this is the guy who actually didn't probably intend to blow it up, just wanted to set it on fire, but because it's a restaurant and there's ovens and stoves and, you know, just didn't really know what he was doing. It blew up and it blew up the whole Starbuck's beside it and across the street it blew out windows of a hotel and a big drugstore.
Jill: Kind of strange.
Steve: The other news here locally too is…people who don't know Vancouver, we're on the water and we've got the mountains at our back. The mountains are quite high and to drive into the interior we use a highway called the Coquihalla Highway, which has a lot of sort of avalanche protection galleries or tunnels and stuff, but you were telling me that they closed the highway for a week?
Jill: Yeah, I think it was five days. Yeah, it's been closed for either five days or a week now, which I haven't ever heard of in the winter since that highway's been open. I think it's been open for 15 years or so, somewhere around there. They certainly get a lot of snow on that highway, but there's trucks clearing it all the time and usually you can still drive on it. I guess there were several avalanches and then the crews were in there trying to set off more just to make sure that there wouldn't be any avalanches while people were traveling. So, for quite a few days…that's quite a main highway and it's been completely shutdown and it just reopened this morning apparently.
Steve: We've had a lot of avalanches this year around B.C., different parts of the province. We've had a lot of snow and conditions that make avalanches happen.
Steve: So, we have to be careful of mad arsonists, we have to be careful of avalanches, you know? Life is full of danger no matter…
Jill: Cupid's arrows.
Steve: Cupid's arrows. I mean I have to be careful. You know, I was getting chocolates from quite a few of the female employees here and I took it to be, you know, a sign of special affection, but it looks like it was just an obligation.
Jill: Exactly. You're not so special after all.
Steve: I'm not so special; what a great comedown. I wish I had got chocolates from someone.
Jill: Me too!
Steve: Oh, okay, well occasionally. I think there we've covered a few items then. Thank you Jill.
Jill: Thank you.
Steve: And so six weeks and counting.
Jill: Thank you.
Steve: Thank you, bye-bye.