Posted by: David Stewart | February 13, 2009

The Internet Saves Valentine’s Day

I have this little file on my computer’s desktop called “valentines.txt”

The name is maybe a little arbitrary I suppose.  I know that there are some guys who huff at me when I talk about taking my wife out on a nice date for Valentine’s Day. They claim that it is an occasion created by the greeting card industry, and has no particular significance to them.

As true as that might be, I don’t mind having an excuse to do something nice for my dear wife. After all, she puts up with my foolishness and foibles so why not bless her with a nice evening?

When we were poor college students, before we were married, “nice” meant a little Italian place in a converted Victorian style house on college avenue.  We remember that they had run out of several of the things we had ordered, including espresso!

Today, 26 years later, nice may mean we can spend a little more. It may be old fashioned of me, but I pick the place, make reservations and usually try to keep it a surprise.

This requires me to plan ahead far enough to get reservations. For some reason, Valentine’s Day (like Mother’s Day) seems to be fairly popular at restaurants.

So “valentines.txt” is my low tech way to keep track of the “nicer” places, complete with phone numbers. Then I can start dialing my way through the list to find the best still-available time.

This year, I remembered a full month before Valentine’s Day to make reservations someplace. I called up one place that Deb and I have never been to, but we decided we really wanted to go.  (Higgins) No luck, they’re already full!

But this year, instead of dialing through my list, I decided to go slightly more high tech: OpenTable let’s you select a city, put in a date and a preferred time, and it will show you all of its participating restaurants with available tables on or close to the desired time. This time I was successful.

I don’t know… OpenTable almost makes this too easy on me.


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