Monday, April 14, 2014

I Gave Her My Heart And She Gave Me A Pen

Lloyd Dobbler.

We know that name, that guy.  He's the Benjamin Braddock (The Graduate) of my generation.  We know he is into kickboxing ("sport of the future") and Diane Court.  His shy-but-confident wooing, his earnest and abiding love for her, his speech about not wanting to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything,  and of course this boombox scene - he pierced the hearts and minds and longings of my generation.  He's a touchstone for us tail-end-of Gen X'ers.  How many of us girls wanted a guy to do this, make a big, dramatic, romantic gesture?  How many of you guys wanted to work up the courage to get the smartest, prettiest girl in your class to fall in love with you?

Say Anything is 25 years old, which is shocking and painful for me.

I was 14 when I saw it at the Malco Razorback 6.  I went with my friends and co-workers from the snack bar at Blue Springs, a strange hybrid fish hatchery/natural springs/stop along the Trail of Tears where petroglyphs are visible on the rock structures.  In reference to the Trail of Tears connection, the snack shop was called The Indian Giver.  For real.  It was my first job.  I made popcorn that visitors bought to feed the ducks and scooped ice cream all day.  The family who owned Blue Springs had three children close in age to me.  The middle sister and youngest son (my age and 6th grade "boyfriend") invited me to drive to Fayetteville to see Say Anything.  I was thrilled to finally be making my own money and had saved up to buy a bottle of Estee Lauder's Beautiful perfume which I sprayed myself lavishly in preparation for the excursion.  We lived an hour away from the move theater that showed new releases so it was a bit of a production to get a group of people together to see a movie.

What I remember about seeing it the first time in that theater is how strongly I identified with Lloyd Dobbler, more so than any of the female characters.  I also had a weird family life.  I fell hard in love with guys and just knew how good I could be for/with them.  I loved Peter Gabriel and the early Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Replacements and Fishbone like Lloyd.  I didn't want to anything to do with processed, bought, or sold products either.  I knew what it felt like to be disappointed by the adults in my life.  I liked to wear a big, old green army trench coat (have you ever noticed how teenagers tend to wear baggy, oversized clothes in order to hide from the world?).  Lloyd seemed to have shit figured out, or trusted that he would figure it out if not.   He had soul, something lacking from most films about teenagers.

I think so much lately about aging.  I don't know if it's because I just turned 39, or because I'm living alone for the first time in 20 yrs and have time to think about things.  It boggles my mind that 25 years have passed since that night at the Malco 6, when I left the theater with my heart in my throat, so ready to feel that elation of solid, hearty, "I will follow you to England" true love.  I'm still waiting, really.  TWENTYFUCKINGFIVEYEARS.

My favorite song from the Say Anything soundtrack, which I might still have somewhere on cassette.  


Liz said...

This is one of the movies Cynthia had me watch because I'd somehow missed out on them. Anyways, I feel you on still waiting for that kind of love. I have to believe it will come!

Carrie said...

I have this DVR'd for the next time you come visit!

AMY said...

This is one of my all-time favorites. I don't know if it's being 41, but I've been feeling super nostalgic lately.