Ron Judd

(Almost) never too late to embrace your sweet Valentine

In NW WA, it's the acerbic thought that counts
February 15, 2023 at 5:05 a.m.

Executive Editor

The pressure builds through early February on a steep curve, not unlike the upward arc of a Sidewinder missile tracking a hapless Chinese weather balloon over Ohio: Up, up, and away, go the unreasonable expectations for St. Valentine’s Day, a global Russell Stover holiday established to celebrate love and spectacular profits of the corn syrup and garishly dyed carnation cartels.

You know and loathe the saccharine-sweet result when you see it: Endearingly coupled folks’ detailing descriptions of their multi-tiered — often multiday — plans for V-Day, usually spoken in a voice loud enough to be heard in downtown Van Zandt. For some folks, it’s a big, saucy Instagram moment.


The rest of the people of the world, who have jobs and stuff, often forget, or don’t even have time to get through the self-check at Haggen with a shrink-wrapped rose. So shoot us. 

Given that it is the thought that allegedly counts, it is really never too late to make one’s endearing thoughts known. 

Well, OK. This coming Monday, or thereafter. That would be too late.

The point: There’s still time for local latecomers to cool their jets, ditch the guilt, regroup and reorganize an impromptu lovefest that takes advantage of NW WA’s unique 2020s Zeitgeist. A few ideas follow. You and your pending grandkids can thank me later.

Taste-Budding Love: Couple up and conduct a picnic-hopping tour of hyperlocal Bellingham breweries, sampling the approximately 8,000 varieties of bitter, foul, unpleasant-tasting IPAs, mass consumption of which will make literally any and everything else in one's life seem comparatively sweet and blissful, or at least not gag-reflex-inducing.

Post Point Passion: Take a pot of chicken bone soup down to the designated Great Blue Heron Poop-Bomb Test Range near Bellingham’s waterfront treatment plant, stretch out a blanket, whip out a yellow legal pad, and do the math on which of your children should be sold first into indentured servitude to pay for the pending Post Point II poop-upgrade project. (If you see a guy in an orange safety vest and cool shades amble by, grab him for a consultation; that’s the mayor!)

Couple's Virtue-Signaling Engagement Evening: Head with your beloved to the neighborhood "natural-foods" retailer or co-op. Stroll the aisles and revel in your shared commitment to the environment by filling your hemp toter with products containing basically all the same ingredients of name-brand staples available at Fred Meyer, but at twice the price here in the cozy 27,000-Kelvin warm lighting of the feelgood alternative. Back at home, enjoy a guilt-free meal of organic veggies, limp tofurkey and succulent, spindly kelp strands. Cap off the evening with a love note etched in charcoal on a dried skunk cabbage leaf and revel in gluten-free carob muffins capped by monk fruit sugar alternative frosting. Drift off in sublime leading-the-way, mutual self-satisfaction!

Waterfront Bliss: Stage a Bic-lighter-themed romantic “candle-lit” dinner (remember: it’s otherwise dumplings-only in Bellingham after 6 p.m.) in the leeward shadow of the (Iconic) Acid Ball, heating the finest available ramen in an aluminum pot over an old MSR Whisperlite backpacking stove. Note: Given the frequency of stout nor’easterly gales this time of year, consider subbing in an underwater flare for a candle when setting your gravel-beach “table.” Don’t be concerned that the requisite matching sets of welding glasses might refract the googly-eyed looks of loving longing. They might even enhance the focus!

Couple’s Adrenaline Getaway: Roll up with your beloved like over-seasoned chicken parts in a Pendleton-wool-blanket burrito configuration to stave off the dank cold while watching dry-suited dudes and dudesses brave the frigid, roiling, killer waters of Bellingham Bay on surf-ski kayaks, occasionally calling for emergency evacs when they get separated from their watercraft. Nothing gets two hearts pounding in sync like watching graybeards fight for their very lives off the rocks of a shipyard. Bonus points if your cell phone call gets a Coast Guard helo dispatched from Port Angeles.

Unbridled Zoom Schadenfreude Love: Curl up with your sweetie on the sofa and, while toasting with Prosecco, take in your favorite government body in action on a laptop screen. Revel in how much better your life is at that moment than anyone and everyone appearing in those pixels. Proceed to reconsider your commitment to representative democracy — which, let’s face it, was pretty flimsy to start with. Embrace, or whatever you do in these special moments. Move on to dessert. 

Bayou Experience: Grab some post-Val drinks down at Bayou on Bay. Share side order of frogs legs. Go home, curl up under a duck-down quilt, and discuss possibilities of what happened to frog’s bodies. Repeat as necessary.

Family Fare (Bellinghamsters only): Take your partner out to your favorite downtown locale that screams Bellingham to make a V-day couple’s selfie worthy of sending out to the world. (Note: Take care to position your bodies to block the visible profane graffiti from literally any vertical surface behind you. See page A12 of this week’s CDN print edition.)

The Polyp Package: To honor the heroic brave soul profiled in this week’s CDN pages who got a colonoscopy on Valentine’s Day … get a colonoscopy later during the week of Valentine’s Day. It is unclear whether couples scopings are available upon request, but it never hurts to ask. Also: A clean test means you get to skip Valentine’s Day entirely for another 10 years!

Ron Judd's column appears on Wednesdays;; @roncjudd.

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