One good thing about being snowbound (or really snow lazy) was that I had an opportunity to catch up on work, among other things. Like I suspect many of you also did, I vacillated between productivity and television/movies/books. One of the movies that I finally watched (and no, I am not necessarily proud of it) was the Sex and the City movie. I have no problems admitting that I followed the show during its early seasons – I may have attended and even hosted a SATC party or four – but I felt no real inclination to watch the movie. I’m going to blame HBO for showing it a bunch of times and my insomnia for choosing it over infomercials.
This has never been a space for movie reviews and I certainly won’t change that by discussing a 2+ year old movie of marginal cinematic consequence. But after watching Carrie get left at the alter by Big, I just knew there was no way they were getting back together… and then I wanted to throw day old Domino’s pizza at the screen when they did reconnect and marry at the end of the movie. “How could she put herself in this position?” I yelled at the screen, followed by the thought “this is the bullshit message that ends a once formidable cultural phenomenon?”
A day or so later the distaste was still lingering in my mind when I trekked to a bar to meet a friend. The Only Slightly Sleazy Lobbyist and I were sitting on a mostly heated patio lamenting our NFL-Withdrawal while sucking on discount beers and La Flor Dominicana Cabinet Selection #1* for me and American Spirits for him. A few minutes later a slightly inebriated woman ambled over to our perch at the bar.
“Excuse me, I just broke up with my boyfriend and would like a cigarette please” she said with just a hint of affect.
My reaction to such information has long been the optimistic “Congratulations.”
Over the course of her smoke, Katerina revealed that it was a mostly good thing and that they split because he lives two time zones away. In an attempt to find the good news in a painful situation, I offered “That’s a good reason to split if for no other reason than the fact that he didn’t inspire you to want to move.”
Eventually Katerina thanked us for the smoke and the company and returned to her friends. Before we left the bar, she returned twice more for a tobacco intermezzo and some of the breezy yet serious conversation that is most easily found with imperfect strangers. On her final visit, Katerina broached the subject of the distance again.
“How do I know the difference between not wanting to move and not being inspired to move?” She asked.
“You don’t really know the difference until one exists. In my little world, if someone really makes your socks roll up and down, you’ll want to do certain things… like move out west because that’s where he is. Or he’d want to move here, or you two might find some hybrid between because you want home to be wherever they are. You see, the veracity of anything we have planned for our lives is never truly known until it’s tested. I used to think, and now think again, that I don’t want to have children. Then one day I was knocked on my ass by a love I had never even known could exist. That exceptional woman wanted children and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world for me to want them too.”
“I never knew that” OSSL interrupted but I was on too much of a roll to respond to his statement.
“We believe all of these things about our world and what we want and then suddenly an unordinary love comes along and shakes our sensibilities like a fucking snow globe. Only in the face of that test are a lot of our really core ‘deal-breakers’ and ‘must haves’ really proven. It doesn’t happen often and sometimes not even easily, but it’s that exception that you just know, that you feel in the deepest part of your soul. Call it the Doctrine of Love’s Exceptionalism.”
In that instant, I realized two things 1) I had shifted from answering Katerina’s question and started speaking for some part of me, and 2) that I had to forgive Carrie for marrying Big.
Ya know, just in case any of you ever need to know what kind of cigars your favorite restaurant refugee likes to smoke.