I think that my reigning resignation may be giving way to a little romantic rumbling. I present my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies: Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. The trilogy is superb, for it penetratingly relates the life stages of a relationship in a manner that allows the viewer to see the players on this amatory stage age, having been filmed over the course of nearly twenty years. While I am typically taken by morbid reflections upon failure and what could have been, the first film in this charming trifecta, with all its morning-dew-upon-the-grass tenderness, affects deeply me every time I watch it.
In this scene, our two would-be/will-be/will-be-ex(?) lovers nervously flee but gleefully pursue each other’s gaze in a record booth. If you have never had a moment like this, then you will not fully mature, as maturity is usually built on this foundation of sheer youthful hope–as misguided as it may be in disrespectable retrospect. To steal from the Catholic Easter liturgy: O felix culpa.
(By the way, their encounter is my Platonic ideal in this world of Aristotelian messiness: chance meeting on a train with both people alienated from themselves and others–a meeting that then leads, in a way that only dislocation can provide, to twenty-some-odd hours of conversational dancing. One of the greatest days that I have ever spent was with a particular dark-haired Texan sweetheart: we spent twenty hours [yes, I counted] in continuous youth-enabled-but-caffeine-aided conversation. Thank God and the pleasure He must take in youthful romance that smartphones had not then been invented. I truly pity lovers who have come of age not ever not having known the Internet or smartphones; I would not trade my timeline for theirs, hook-up apps and easy sex notwithstanding.)