Monday, January 20, 2014

"When Rina became Sally"

Like any long weekend for a single 30-something in NYC, I listened to the latest Billy Crystal audiobook (geared toward our nation's AARP population) as I cleaned and lightly feng-shui'ed my studio apartment.

Naturally, the thrill of sucking up five bags worth of hair and dust bunnies combined with Billie's narration of how he "now pees in Morse code and his lady may need Depends" got me excited to pop in one of my all-time favorite movie classics, "When Harry Met Sally." It had been a year or so since I last watched it - a perfect, comfortable close to a successful cleaning day.

So it's coming to the scene where Sally is tossing around barely-used tissues crying about the news of her ex getting married.  I've seen this movie over and over since I was eight; I could perform it for you in my sleep.  Which is why I never, ever anticipated to experience the realization that paused me in my decaying robe and fuzzy slippers as I watched the scene while getting ready for bed:

Sally: "And I'm gonna be 40!"
Harry: "When?"
Sally: "Someday!"
Harry: "In eight years."

I stopped in my tracks.  My God.  I am Sally Albright.

Maybe not cute and blonde and endearingly quirky, but I am the age of Sally Albright's character.  Somehow, a time-warp has taken place and twenty-four years have gone by.  The concept of being a woman in New York experiencing difficulties in dating and struggling to drag the Christmas tree by herself to her apartment always seemed like a distant fantasy of some future adulthood.   But the present is now what was once the far-off future.  And what is even more unbelievable is that in the next year, it will soon be the past.  I will become Sally Albright's big sister (adopted, obviously).

Here it is, the final New Year's Eve scene.  She's in her blue strapless gown faking a great time, he's eating Mallowmars at home in bed.  But whether I'm fifteen, twenty-three, or in my thirties, it still strikes me as if I've never seen it before.  I forget where I am or what year it is, and I am who I've always been - presently rooting for Sally's and Harry's love. That won't ever change.  Even when I'm wearing Depends.

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