Panorama of San Bernardino

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My romantic side

I am watching "You've Got Mail" for the umpteenth time.  There is something about romantic comedies like this that gets me.  Especially romantic comedies by Nora Ephron.

Ephron's "You've Got Mail" is essentially a remake of the film "Shop Around The Corner", a 1940's film involving a letter writing romance between James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.  It also overtly references the Jane Austen classic "Pride and Prejudice" and the main characters of Austen's classic strongly influence the characters of Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks). 

At the end of the movie when Kathleen finds out that Joe, her arch nemesis, is the man she fell in love with over email she starts to cry and Tom Hanks wipes her eye and says, "Don't cry shop girl."  To which she responds, "I wanted it to be you.  I wanted it to be you so badly."  It gives me chills just to write that scene's dialogue.  It is perfect.  And it helps that "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is playing in the background.

The referential nature of "You've Got Mail" is similar to another of my favorite Ephron films, "Sleepless in Seattle" which also pairs Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.  "Sleepless in Seattle" is heavily influenced by the film classic "An Affair to Remember."  Even though it is embarrassing to admit, I had never seen "An Affair to Remember" and only rented it after I saw "Sleepless in Seattle" for the first time. 

The first time I saw "An Affair to Remember" I cried like a baby.  The final scene where Cary Grant realizes why a wheelchair bound Deborah Kerr couldn't keep their appointment atop the Empire State Building turns me into a weeping mess.

"An Affair to Remember" is a close second to my favorite movie of all time "Gone With The Wind".  I read "Gone With The Wind" when I was six and used to dream about running away with Rhett Butler.  When I saw the movie for the first time, at somewhere around seven or eight years old, I remember thinking that Clark Gable was the same image in my head of Rhett Butler after I read the book.  This rarely happens.  Usually when I read a book and become invested in the characters, a movie casting is a pale comparison to the image of the characters in my mind's eye.  "Gone With the Wind" is the exception (and Matt Dillion as Dallas in "The Outsiders"). 

I used to sit in elementary class and daydream about writing a sequel to "Gone With The Wind".  Of course, Rhett and Scarlett would end up together.  They would have another little girl and they would grow old together and laugh about all the drama in their past.

Isn't that how all great romances are supposed to end?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Funny Girl

Some may find this shocking but in some ways, being the fat girl was more fun.  There was no pressure.  You could talk to someone and be funny and witty and there was never more than a hint of sexual undertone. 

It was as if the layer of fat that covered my belly and thighs, at least eighty pounds of which I have lost, insulated me from the male gaze.  That has changed and I am not entirely comfortable with it.

More accurately stated, I am downright uncomfortable with it.

So there lies the rub.  To be thin, and in turn meet society's definition of "sexy", you have to give something up.  That something is a certain freedom of being and existing.  And, while I would not put back on the pounds, I do wish I could somehow escape that rub.  No pun intended.

I want to be the thin, funny gal pal type, just like I used to be the fat, funny gal pal type.  There are strategies I could use I suppose: dress more boyish, wear my glasses, pull back my hair, the list goes on.   But why should I have to ugly it up to escape the unwanted attention? 

And, I have to admit, in a weird way I do crave the attention.  Do my contradictions make any sense?

In Vegas this weekend, I was sitting at the bar waiting for my friend to finish at the blackjack table. I fidgeted in my bar stool trying to pull down my too short sequined dress.

A guy sat down next to me and smiled and said, "Are you waiting for your sugar daddy?"  I looked at him with a scowl and said, "No, I make my own money."  His friends walked up shortly thereafter and handed him a hat to match their own green baseball caps.  I looked over and gave a sarcastic smirk and said, "You looked better without the hat."  His friend laughed and said, "Oh you're a funny girl."

I nodded my head and said, "Yes I am."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pictures of You

(Myself, Kenny G (my date for homecoming), Kenny B, my bff Tracy, Gene and Chrissy

Pictures are strange,  They bring back so much.  I saw the above pictures and I was instantly transported back in time to the 1980's.  My husband saw the same pictures and commented in his usual droll way that the pictures were like something out of a more punkier John Hughes movie.

High school was an interesting time for me.  My parents had lost their house and we were roaming from rental to rental like a band of nomads.  I had morphed from preppie geek girl to punk rocker between freshman and sophmore year.  My once light brown hair was dyed blue black, I pierced my nostril and wore a uniform of all black with monkey boots on most days. 

When the homecoming dance came around, my friend Tracy and I went dress shopping.  We idolized Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees and wanted to emulate her.  I found the perfect dress: all black with a sheen to it to match my hair.  Tracy found a black lace dress that hugged her waist.

I don't remember much from that night.  I am sure I drank too much and I remember that Kenny G wore a shiny silver suit and Kenny B carried a cane and top hat.

What is also interesting is how my perception of myself that night was so warped.  I remember feeling fat.  Yet, looking back all I see is a curvy, young rather Goth looking girl with fabulous blue black hair who had style.

Even though I may pretend, deep down inside I am not the staid and lawyerly type.  I am still a rebel.  So last night when my hair stylist asked me, "Are you sure you want to go that dark.  That's really black."

My head moved up and down and I said firmly, "Fuck it.  Go for it."

All I need now are some combat boots.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

How Did I Get Here?

Someone recently told me that my blog makes them think about the source of happiness.  I think that is an accurate depiction of what I am trying to do with my writing.  It is a discovery of my own self.  The age old query stated so succintly by the Talking Heads, "How did I get here?"

Life can be surreal sometimes.  Looking at my life, I am amazed that I made it here.   When I was in my late teens and twenties, I was trying to survive.  Rent and transportation were my two biggest concerns, and going to dance clubs.  I was not an adult in the true sense of the word.  I never looked into the future and planned.  Getting by was enough and I was more of a child pretending to be an adult.

Thinking back to my twenties, I remember one time, my mom and dad came to visit me in my apartment in Upland where I lived with my younger sister Annie.  I was around twenty one and Adrian and I had been dating for months.   When my parents arrived, Adrian and I were in the shower and Annie told me through the bathroom door.  I came out in a towel and yelled at them for coming over.  They left in a huff and afterward I saw that they had left a couple of bags of groceries on the kitchen table. 

I know I hurt their feelings, but I never saw my parents back then.  All of my chaotic and crazy childhood had come home to roost and I was angry and pissed off.  I blamed my parents for everything I thought had gone wrong in my life:  my decision to drop out and get my GED, my decision to move out into an apartment and my constant struggles financially. 

The reality was much more complicated.  Yes, it's true that my mom and dad raised me in a crazy house.  But, my mom taught me to read when I was three and always stressed education.  Yes, my dad was an alcoholic, but he also was a hard working and loving father who taught me a love of movies and Gin Rummy.   Yes, when I told my parents I wanted to go to Claremont McKenna and they told me they could not afford it, I went from straight A student to dropping out within the year.  I think back and realize I could have researched financial aid and my dropping out had more to do with a bout of depression then my parent's inability to comprehend federal student loan programs.

Now I know that I was a self destructive brat.  When I dropped out at seventeen and took my GED just ten credits short of a high school diploma, my mom said I could continue to live with my parents if I went to school.  She desperately wanted me to go to college.  I wanted to waitress and party.  And I did just that for many years.

So, how did I get here?  Luck?  Maybe.  Determination?  Sure.

Through the grace of God?