I live in a City of a lot of people with very whimsical tastes. I fit right in, albeit there are too many people too tightly packed, at least one of the reasons I fit in is linguistic, well, sort of.
Love languages are occasionally popular to talk about, it’s always good fun to find out how someone communicates, especially when it’s about the ways a heart works. My love language is gifts. That always requires a bit of explanation, it took a good chunk of explaining to my therapist that gifting as a love language has nothing to do with materialism. (Sidenote, at some point next year I swear I will be far enough out of therapy that I will stop mentioning my therapist at the drop of a hat). Gifts that cost lots or nothing at all are just as likely to speak, gifting as a love language is about two things: the first, that the gifter was thinking about the giftee and the second, that the gifter saw something that they knew the giftee well enough to know would be perfect for them. There is a third thing which doesn’t always come in, that the gift automatically means more if the gifter made it.
So ok, we’ve established my love language. Lancaster has a very specific spin on it. Living in Lancaster is the very wonderful Rat, a woman who still remains as much a rolemodel for me as she was when I was eighteen and first encountered her particular take on living for herself no matter how unique her ideas were. Rat is from Norfolk and she introduced the city to Father Valentine. Random, weird, bizarrely amusing things appearing on doorsteps around the 14th of February makes Valentines Day more about a broader kind of love than I see a lot of people celebrating it as. Now when I say random, I have before now had to extricate my door from a two metre long spear wrapped in newspaper, plastic cockroaches still manage to freak The Jellicle out after one notable diorama and invisible eggs appearing on dozens of doorsteps – carefully marked out were taken curiously seriously. Father Valentine is popular in Lancaster, but it’s not the only time of year that random things will appear on doorsteps here.
If they’re things from me then there’s a fair chance they’ll be food although around Valentines Day all bets are off. I like including glitter in those.
M-i-L has a habit of taking things further and small items have been known to appear in pockets after encountering her.
Dancing Guy specialises in leaving memberships to his fan club which is a very specific (and funny) spin on the basic premise.He’s using the post, much as Rat does for Father V to spread his bizarre gifting further.
The thing is though, it isn’t just people who know us. Complete strangers who live here do this too: Weasel getting given a Morningstar one Saturday morning, me getting any amount of Hermans back when they were popular simply by being a woman in her thirties, the lady up the road who has a yarn-bombing habit, the sew & sow boxes. This whole city seems to be built on whimsy some days.
But random gifts just appearing with little explanation or rationale is like the apogée of gifting as a love language. Not only was the giftee thought of but in some sort of flowing way that spreads out from Rat and Dancing Guy and half the city, yeah you’re one of ours, let’s celebrate by popping three-legged tights wrapped in newspaper on your doorstep in February.
And I’ll unwrap the two metre long spear, the glitter erupting egg box, the signed photos and feel very, very loved. Because it’s a shared language that we have.