Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Truly Romantic

I was talking to one of my very best friends the other day, and we were, as we usually do, trading stories and seeking advice about the various quasi-romantic scenarios in our lives. Most of the time, these exchanges go a little like this:

Me, "Check this out, the other day ...."
Him, "Weird, man."
Me, "So what does that mean? or So what does she want? or So what am I supposed to do now?"
Him, "I don't know man. Check this out, the other day... "

And then it is his turn. Depending on how life is going, after he tells his story, maybe I have another one, or he has another one, or we just go back and reanalyze the ones we told each other last time.

Rarely do we have a good interpretation of the other person's narrative and even more rarely do we have useful advice. It isn't because we are dumb or because we don't care, mostly because we don't have the slightest idea what to do. And that is mostly because we usually don't know what the subject of the narrative(s) is looking for with respect to us.

Single people -- notice I'm including members of both genders -- do a pretty good job of being mysterious, even when they aren't trying. Perhaps that is what society tells us to do, perhaps we've seen too many romantic comedies, perhaps all this new technology over the past generation or two has left us unable to adequately communicate desire and preference. I don't know.

I'm guessing, though, that there are plenty of other people having these types of conversations, maybe even having them about me and my friend every blue moon or so.

Actually, what I'm imagining is a lot like the closing scene of the movie Singles, where we hear one conversation after another about love and sex and dating and the camera pulls upward to the sky, until we realize that all across Seattle are homes filled with single people not having a clue what is going on.

So, the last conversation my friend and I had, I suggested maybe we weren't communicating what we want very well either. Then I asked, what do we want. We quickly rattled off the obvious things, someone that is engaging, attractive, employed, honest, well-humored, etc. Nothing special or surprising there. But then we started trading hypotheticals, sort of "I want a person that will react in such and such a way if X ever happened." It was pretty telling.

After I got off the phone, I kept thinking about it and decided in addition to the superficial characteristics, the personality quirks, and the cultural requisites (like a healthy respect for "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" and amaretto stone sours -- at least once), I remembered one of my all time favorite movie scenes.

Remember the part in True Romance, after the shoot-out where we aren't immediately sure if Clarence is alive or dead, but then we see Alabama watching him playing on the beach with a little kid, as she begins to narrate off-screen? Anyway, I typed it in below. But before you read that, let me say, that's a pretty good example of what I would like to have, after all the superficial/economic/cultural/lifestyle issues are out of the way: someone who thinks I'm one cool dude. As you read the quote, don't worry about the gunfire or the violence or the names, just that one glorious phrase -- you're so cool -- repeated so tenderly and appreciatively and humorously, fully cognizant of what a small thing "coolness is" yet determined to make the point why it matters. I'm not saying I want to be Fonzie, nor do I want to spend my life (or even a significant number of days) with someone so delusional they think I'm the alpha and omega of hipness. All I'd like, as I put it to my friend earlier this evening, is to have my significant other really dig me. Maybe that's weird, maybe it isn't. I don't know. It is funny, though, how often we get into situations where there isn't much digging going on by either party.

Anyway, look at me doing a bad job of being contemplative and a good job, in the words of some character or another from Mallrats, of being a morose motherfucker. The quote in question is below.

"Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool. And sometimes, Clarence asks me what I would've done if he had died, if that bullet had been two inches more to the left. To this, I always smile, as if I'm not gonna satisfy him with a response. But I always do. I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and the want of death would fade like the stars at dawn, and that things would be much as they are now, perhaps. Except, maybe, I wouldn't have named our son Elvis."

UPDATE: I found a good clip on youtube of Alabama's speeches at the beginning and ending of True Romance -- check it out here.

You should also really think about checking out the Meatloaf link above -- muy classico.

1 comment:

natasha said...

well said. i couldn't agree more!