Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm also taking suggestions for the role of Me in the movie version of my life. Jennifer Garner? Janeane Garofalo? You decide.

My friend Carrie and I often like to look at situations as though they are the movie version of our lives. It's not all about the fantasy of that idea. True, in the movie version of our lives, we would probably more often get what we want, and we would be wearing decidedly more fabulous shoes when we got it. But the exercise goes beyond wishful thinking. I sort of think that to imagine myself in a movie is to imagine a life less ordinary, a life where I take more risks and believe in more possibilities. There are worse mindsets to cultivate, don't you agree?

I've had enough unexpected encounters recently that my life is starting to feel like a highlights (or rather, lowlights) reel, and I can't help but wonder (I hate that Carrie Bradshaw has fully ruined that otherwise innocuous and useful phrase for the rest of us) just what that might mean in the movie version of my life. In the past month or thereabouts, I have run into or unexpectedly heard from five (count them: FIVE!) men whom I once went on dates with. As I've said before, Minneapolis is not Star's Hollow; I can go for weeks or months on end without running into anyone I know in a public place where I'm not expecting to see them; so to run into FIVE past dates in a one-month span is more than a bit curious.

The first one in this string was The Traffic Engineer, who e-mailed me again recently, for purportedly no other reason than to tell me they'd modified some signal timing on my commute and I should let him know if I notice any problems going forward. I haven't actually replied to that message, though I feel a little guilty for not doing so, particularly every Monday through Friday as I stop for the lights at Century and Lake Elmo Avenues, which have not changed in any way due to this new signal timing, as far as I can tell. They still somehow magically know exactly when I'm coming and turn red just as I approach, as if to say, "Woah, Stefanie. Hold up. Don't you want to stop and say hello to me today?"

In addition to The Traffic Engineer, I also ran into a past meMarmony match at a party recently, which is not such a big surprise, given that we knew, when the all powerful Dr. Warren matched us, that we had a friend in common. And then, at a film festival screening, I spotted the guy I've taken to calling Waldo, because he is EVERYWHERE I GO; I just need to look for him. When I emailed him on Catch dot Mom last fall, pointing out (in a hopefully not at all creepy way) that we seem to be in the same place at the same time more often than seems usual, he replied that "the city is like a bicycle wheel, and most people live life in only one or two spokes." Shockingly, I resisted the urge to walk up to him and his female companion at the film screening and say, "Get outta my spokes, dude!"

Then last week, at a concert, I ran into a guy I had two dates with last year... an inordinately nice gentleman who was ridiculously good to me and made me laugh and was more than financially sound to boot and yet who, frankly, I could not imagine ever getting naked with (sorry; should have warned you, perhaps, that I was going to edge into blunt and R-rated territory there). I really do wish I was attracted to that one, because I can only assume he's thinking he's still attracted to me; a mix CD from him arrived in my mailbox about four days after that unexpected run-in at First Avenue, and I'm trying not to read into the fact that three of the songs he chose to include have the word "love" in the title.

And finally, a few days ago, I ran into another random and unnotable meMarmony match at an MPR forum event. He spotted me first and came over to say hello. When he left, I turned to Carrie and Angela and explained, "We went on three dates last year." And Carrie said, "Three? Really?" to which I replied, "Yeah, I know. It was probably two more than I needed to go on."

When The Traffic Engineer contacted me yet again, I thought about what that might mean in the movie version of my life, and I wondered if perhaps he was the guy I'd overlooked and nearly let get away. If this were a movie, would his persistence finally pay off? Would he be the guy who finally wears me down and forces me to give him a second (no, third) chance, at which point I would suddenly recognize all his charms and finally realize he is perfect for me? I really (really, REALLY) don't think The Traffic Engineer is the one for me, so it's almost a relief that I had those four additional run-ins to diminish the significance in some way. Suddenly, these events aren't random coincidences; they are part of a montage! And in the movie version of my life, doesn't it stand to reason that there'd be a montage such as this right before I meet the one I'm supposed to be with, the one I've been waiting for all this time?

That's what I would I like to believe all this unexpected boomeranging nonsense might mean. In the movie version of my life, I would be sitting at that proverbial rock bottom place, drowning my frustrations in a dirty martini while I sit at home alone in my yoga pants on a Friday night, when suddenly, when I least expect it, Mr. Perfect-for-Me appears.

Mr. Perfect-for-Me is still playing hard-to-get, so perhaps I should just settle in and wait for the rest of the montage to scroll on by. It might help if I had the proper soundtrack, though. After all, movie montages always involve a song, do they not? I think that attempting to live in the movie version of my life means embracing the movie-ness of it all and envisioning it to the furthest extent possible. So I need a theme song. Or rather, a Mr. Not-Right-for-Me montage song. Suggestions, anyone?


Anonymous said...

I really, really like the traffic engineer. Are you absolutely positive there is nothing there?

Also, because I love giving my opinions on things that are none of my business:

Mix tape guy- no. As we approach 40 this is no longer cute and kind of creepy.

nancypearlwannabe said...

I love this post, and I am rooting for an ending comparable to either Pride and Prejudice, Love Actually, or Bridget Jones. Clearly one of those is in order after your life montage has been so neatly laid out for you.

3carnations said...

Did I miss whatever happened to MPR date?

Mix CD? Really? Cute and creepy all at once. No one ever made me one of those, although in high school a boy I didn't particularly like dedicated a couple of Journey songs to me on the radio.

-R- said...

You look much more like Jennifer Garner than Janeane Garofalo, so I vote for Jen.

I think The Traffic Engineer is purposely messing with the lights on your route just to spite you.

You running into former dates = H running into people from his home town. It is so weird.

lizgwiz said...

Damn physical chemistry! Our romantic lives would be so much easier if we didn't have to actually be ATTRACTED to the men we date, wouldn't they? Maybe those "arranged marriage" cultures knew what they were doing. Heh.

Movie sound track...hmm...I'll have to give that one some thought. Do you want something haunting and wistful...or wacky and upbeat? ;)

flurrious said...

I'm starting to hate the Traffic Engineer. I can't stand the, "oh, I'm just nonchalantly calling to give you some information that has nothing to do with the fact that I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DON'T LOVE ME!!!" routine.

Ahem. I think your Mr. Not-Right-For-Me Montage song is Torn by Natalie Imbruglia. The montage is Mr. Wrong - Mr. Wrong - Mr. Wrong - hiding from Mr. Wrong at Target - Mr. Wrong - dirty martini while wearing yoga pants. The song ends. You sigh mightily. Start to go up to bed. The doorbell rings! It's Mark Ruffalo! And ... a dog! I don't know what happens next. Also, I don't know if Mark Ruffalo is at all appropriate, because I've only seen him in 13 Going on 30, in which I thought he was adorable, and in the movie version of your life, you're being played by Jennifer Garner, so he was the first person I thought of. I think I will stop talking now.

Courtney said...

This is a really great post, Stefanie. Oddly enough, sometimes I look at situations in my life as movie scenes too -- maybe it helps us know they're happening for a reason and an end is in sight. Or something.

For your montage theme, I'm going to suggest "Float On" by Modest Mouse, not only because it's been stuck in my head all day, but also for the lyric "Even if things get heavy, we'll all float on all right already..." It's a pick-me-up, I think.

Shelly said...

If you want to go the depressing route, I would suggest "Wasted Time" by the Eagles.

metalia said...

Oh, I do this ALL THE TIME. I have cast either Claire Danes as me, and Edward Norton as J. I say you look MUCH more like Jennifer Garner than Janeane Garofolo. Let's cast her. :)

Stefanie said...

Monkey--Yes. I am positive. Sorry about that. I'm actually glad I agreed to the dinner and movie with him a few months ago, because it confirmed for me that it wasn't just bad timing for me before; I really just don't like the guy much.

NPW--I would settle for any of those endings, thank you. I'm not picky. :-)

3Cs--No, you didn't miss anything. The first sentence of the last paragraph sort of sums it up, though. Haven't heard from him, and I suspect I won't anymore at this point. I'm disappointed, but life goes on.

R--I have thought the same thing about those lights. He's probably got a camera on them watching for me. (I'm kidding. I really don't think he's got THAT much residual interest.)

Liz--I think I'd rather stay on my own than bother with an arranged marriage, but I do see your point.

Flurrious--Wait a minute. You and Monkey DISAGREE on something?? Man, now I don't know WHO to listen to! Also, your vision of the montage is perfect. I could do worse than Mark Ruffalo... ;-)

Courtney--That's a pretty good suggestion, actually. Nice.

Shelly--Well, that would get to the point, wouldn't it? ;-)

Metalia--I think I mentioned Janeane more for her attitude than what she looks like. When I was in high school, I envisioned Kellie Martin playing the movie version of me. Then she went from "Life Goes On" to a seemingly endless string of Lifetime TV movies, and I had to reconsider that choice. I'm open to other suggestions as well, mind you.

Miss Pants said...

I don't know about you but my own movie montage would definitely be set to Milli Vanilli or old school Debbie Gibson.

Jennifer Garner would totally play the role of you in the movie version of your life.

Jess said...

This is just cruel. When you're done, shouldn't you get to really be done and not run into four past people on the street like that? Urgh.

Lara said...

Yes, cast Jen as you! She kicks ass, just like you do, whereas Janeane Garofolo has been reduced to playing PotatoFace's Nemesis on 24.

I am cracking up at Monkey, Flurrious, and at you for your shock that they disagree on the Traffic Engineer. Hahaha.

Also, Float On is an interesting suggestion for your movie theme since it also has ties to the whole pisces-floating-down-the-river thing. Hmmm.

Allie said...

Yeah, I have to say, the traffic engineer sounds kind of sweet. I'm picturing him as Colin Firth.