Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is love all around?

Love Actually is one of my all-time favourite movies. It's the one that made me fall for Hugh Grant. It's the one that -- even though I've seen it almost 50 times in three years -- never fails to make me cry.

From the opening scene even.

Cue the lobby at Heathrow Airport. People are hugging, smiling, and laughing.

And Hugh Grant's voice:

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspision love actually is all around.

Then they switch to some doddering old wanker covering his own song, Love is all around, for Christmas. (Little did I know that song was also featured in Grant's Four Weddings and a Funeral, which I saw for the first time only last weekend but ... SIDEBAR!)

Anyhow ... I've been in a few airports in my day. In terms of frequency, I've probably seen the inside of Halifax International the most, then Vancouver, Kamloops, maybe Calgary.

Only once have I ever had someone greet at the airport with a hug. It was 1996 and my father had just died. His funeral was on a Saturday and my flight to Vancouver left that Monday.

I was living in Newfoundland then and my mother had given me the Christmas present of a plane ticket to Vancouver to visit my then boyfriend, to whom we shall refer as Dopehead (seriously ... I know ... I pick the winners ... I do).

I hadn't seen Dopehead in five months. I wondered if the sparks would still fly.

I don't remember very well that day 12 years ago but I know he couldn't pick me up at the airport without the boys with him, his posse, his crew ...

I'm pretty sure I got a hug and a kiss but it really was nothing remarkable.

Since then, my airport experiences have been relegated to hauling my luggage off the carousel and out to the parkade where the boyfriend du jour was patiently waiting and avoiding the dreaded $10 parking fee. Given the year of Dopehead or Useless, they probably burned more gas circling the airport than it would have cost to park.

Oh and the lovely thing about Dopehead? He would have been driving my car and burning my gas anyway ...

Other airport experiences include snarling in the general direction of happy people, whilst I attempted to manage luggage, purse, wallet and cellphone on the way to the car rental desk ... where I would sign over several hundred dollars before a two-hour drive to my final destination, my home town.

There have been times when family members have picked me up at the airport ... probably my eldest brother, to the best of my memory.

But never once have I had that moment of sheer joy ... that 'Oh my God, it's so good to see you!'

And every time I watch that scene in Love Actually, I feel like I'm missing out on something ... like there's a moment waiting for me, if I could just find the right person to share it with.

Will I ever be the Natalie-type who leaps into Hugh Grant's arms and wraps her legs his waist? (Friggin' happy rights I would be if it was Hugh Grant waiting for me, dammit ...)

Probably not. But it sure would be nice to have the opportunity.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Off with her head!

"He's not the one for you."

"He's not good for you."

"I don't think he's treating you well enough."

C'mon, ladies ... we've all heard this from our friends before. We're all sitting around the bar/living-room/ballpark having a beer/lemonade/tea.

All of a sudden, the topic of conversation turns to your relationship. You start looking around for the cameras ... what is this? Friggin' A&E's Intervention for Losers in Love?

Yes, yes, it is. Just minus the cameras and fame. More like it comes with infamy ... the infamy of once again finding out your friends can't stand the man in your life.

Oh sure, they'll be nice to him. They'll smile and nod ... let him think he's entertaining them (yeah, yeah, I always date the class clown, too ... who ultimately gets upstaged by my own class-clownedness and then gets pissed off and .... SIDEBAR!).

Ah yes, me the class clown. Enough time has passed that now I can look at my friends, say 'why didn't you warn me about him' and take off into a sprint, laughing my ass off, as they miss another opportunity to pummel me physically instead of verbally.

But picture it if you will ... the boy is out for a night with the boys doing boy things, likely talking about how miserable they are with their women, and the girls are hanging out, talking about the boys.

1943 Berlin.

"Eva, he's just not right for you."

"My darling Eva, he's going to be the death of you."

"Why are you digging yourself into this hole in the ground, Eva?"

Better yet, Paris 1792 ...

"Marie, sweetie, he isn't worth all the cake in France!"

"Ma cherie, don't lose your head over this guy!"

You see? Hooking up with the wrong guy isn't exactly new.

We've been doing it for centuries.

And we've been not listening to our friends for just as long. So don't be surprised when we do it again. We love you and we love you for your advice.

But we also have a very female predisposition not to listen.