Last Friday, I told my landlord I loved her. This was most unfortunate, considering that I do not, in fact, love her. It’s not like we’re married. Truth be told, I can barely tolerate the woman. Six months ago, I bounced the rent check, and since then she has regarded me with the quiet disdain one usually affords drunk uncles and kids who sell magazine subscriptions at your door during dinner. Yet, despite her unwarranted prejudice, there we were, on the phone, discussing a small credit I had towards next month’s rent balance, when I proclaimed my love for her.
It wasn’t the first time I’d done something like this. About four years ago, a sudden 1:00 a.m. craving for a Jack In The Box Oreo Shake found me in front of the crackling speaker of the drive-thru lane, professing my love for the 19-year-old guy working the Poverty shift. Talk about awkward…
“Uh, I don’t really love you,” I mumbled, as I handed him my five bucks. Then I stupidly added, “Unless you want to give me that milkshake for free.” Ha ha. Yeah, that wasn’t exponentially more awkward at all.
“We’re not that kind of Jack In The Box,” the kid said, dropping the change in my palm from two feet away in an obvious attempt to avoid skin contact with the Old Perv. And yet, despite the cringing discomfort of the whole exchange, the only thing I could think of as I drove off was, Does that mean there is that kind of Jack In The Box somewhere?
It’s a Good Habit To Say “I Love You”
I want to blame all of this on the wine, because it’s a way better excuse than more likely causes, such as old age, Zoloft consumption, or the soul-imploding monotony of a day job. Either way, my wires are getting crossed. I slip into conversational auto-pilot, and what is typically a salutation reserved for my family and closest friends gets accidentally thrown out at random to strangers:
“Ok, I love you!”
I’ve done the maths, and I think I’ve said this to my mom 4,866 times at the end of our phone calls. I’ve said it to both exes approximately 1,216 times (before “I hope you die in a meat packing accident” became the official sign-off), and considering I have three kids, two brothers, and a dozen assorted nieces/nephews/cousins, I can confidently say I have wrapped up well over ten thousand conversations with, “Ok, I love you!” The fact that I’ve only slipped up twice with those who are less than deserving is quite a miracle.
What Happens Automatically When We Say “I Love You?”
Of course, no one is really undeserving of being told, “I love you.” That said, I’m not professing that the world’s problems would be immediately solved if we started tossing out Dali Lama feel-good moments like so much emotional glitter. What intrigues me, as I take my 30th sip of this really amazing pinot I’m going to talk more about in a moment, is this: when somebody says, “I love you,” what’s the automatic response that comes to mind?
I love you, too.
Essentially, a well-placed “I love you” pressures a person into taking an emotional self-inventory about their feelings for you. Anybody dating in their early 20’s can tell you this first hand (“I love you, baby.” “Awww…I have…deep feelings…about you, too.”). And though our society is certainly gripped with an Appropriateness Paranoia (which is certainly a whole other blog post), just imagine what might happen if you capped the next conversation with your boss with a jubilant, “Ok, I love you?”
As for the landlord, her reaction was a loud and genuine laugh. I laughed with her, quickly blurting out my embarrassed apologies.
“That’s ok,” she said. “That’s the best thing anyone has said to me in months.”
Well, maybe she’s more than just tolerable.
Professing Your Love, Unexpectedly, Pairs With: 2018 Tous Les Jours California Pinot Noir
Few are the wines that deserve an “Oh my god, I love this!” Love is a powerful word. Ironically, it seems to be easier for us to use on things than on people.
But god, I love this wine. It has all the decadent earth, mushroom, forest floor and bright cherry notes you want from Pinot Noir, and is easy to drink and low in alcohol as well. And at only $15 per bottle, it can be your everyday Pinot Noir. Oh, and that’s what “Tous Les Jours” means, by the way. Every day. But in French. So it’s classy AF.
Buy it exclusively online at Pairs With Life Cellars!