Earth-shaking romance

I'm of two minds about Valentine's Day. On the one hand it's easy to get cynical about what seems to be a manufactured, Hallmark Card-style event, a sort of cardboard cut-out version of romance that gets culturally advertised at us. On the other, well, I guess there is a nice idea at the heart of it, underneath all the consumerist trappings: it's an annual reminder that we all ought to take time to do something special for our loved one, and not take them for granted.

Of course, you might argue that we should all be doing this anyway, as often as possible, and that we don't need to hold off on the thoughtful acts until a specific point on the calendar rolls around (the same argument holds for Mothers and Fathers Day too). But I guess that as long as you're not only doing romantic things on Valentine's Day, and turn into a loveless hermit for the remaining 364 days of the year, it's all good.

Today is Valentine's Day, and in Christchurch the earth shook for us in ways that perhaps weren't quite what the romantics had in mind. Big quake, 5.7, probably the most violent shake we've had in a couple of years (original earthquake was a little over five years ago, in case anyone's still counting). But the thing is, this city's so acclimatised to them now that, after the initial shock, people by-and-large seemed to cautiously shrug and just get on with their days. And it's not about making light of a potentially serious thing; it's just that after a while, you learn not to waste unnecessary energy on something that you have absolutely no control over.

Which, if you'll allow the clumsy segue, is a bit like the attitude you need when planning a wedding. Sure, everyone needs a backup plan, an emergency kit (a.k.a. the wet-weather option), but there are some things you can't plan for. And you have to be at peace with that. So instead of planning for everything that might happen (which is impossible), what you need to do is plan an attitude, a state of mind as you sit inside your head, ready to accept the aftershocks of unscheduled real-life, and just roll with it.

It's also a good reminder of why that space on the Marriage Licence for a Plan B venue for your wedding, while optional, is absolutely a good idea to fill in. It might be an earthquake or other natural event, maybe the place burns down in a fire or goes out of business, maybe the wedding gets delayed due to illness or giving birth. Plenty of reasons to list Uncle Kevin's house (the one with the big backyard) as a backup - you know, just in case.