Sunday, April 27, 2008

NaPoWriMo #27: outrageous

The first thing that sprang to mind when I looked at this week's prompt at Writers Island was something Janet Livermore (Bridget Fonda) said in Cameron Crowe's Singles: "I think time's running out to do something outrageous." Except I remembered it wrong. When I googled it, I realized the quote is actually: "I think time's running out to do something bizarre. Somewhere around 25, bizarre becomes immature."

I started thinking about why I had once related to Janet so much. She was almost exactly where I was at emotionally when I first saw Singles in 1992. I was her same age (23) and I completely understood the drive to be whoever, whatever I needed to be to preserve a relationship, no matter the cost. Janet did some pretty bizarre things to try and keep things going with her deadbeat grunge boyfriend Cliff (played by a hirsute Matt Dillon). Probably the most bizarre thing I ever did (that I would admit to) was to stalk a former boyfriend I had broken up with by driving by his house every night on my way home from work to see if he was home, for the first month after our breakup. Make that two former boyfriends. But the first guy was the one who ended it with me.

Which is why Janet intrigued me. She did a lot of the same dumb, desperate kind of things I had done, and yet she was able to walk away. The scene with Janet up on the rooftop of her apartment was a mystery to me, a place I aspired to reach. She'd just broken up with Cliff, and reclining on a lounge chair she said, "I've always been able to do this. Break up and never look back. Being alone, there's a certain dignity to it." By the time I got to my second drive-by ex, I had the courage to break up with someone I knew was totally wrong for me; I just had a hard time not looking back. It took me over a month to get to the point where I could be alone and do it in a dignified way. But I did do it.

Incidentally, I disagree with Janet on one point: I don't think there's any statute of limitations on doing something bizarre. Or outrageous.

Driving By

It might take me
a while to discover and
by a while I mean several
more weeks or even
months of waiting till
after dark to drive by hoping
for a glimpse of
you walking out your door
you checking your mail
you on your bicycle or even
you getting into a car with
someone else yes it might
take some time to know not
just believe I'm better off
without you the good news is
no matter how long it
takes you'll never know.


paisley said...

great post.. and here i thought i was the only "flip" out there that used to do that kind of stuff... ever burn anyones clothes in the front yard??? maybe i took it a step or two to far a couple of times... but just a couple i am sure.........

anthonynorth said...

Great post. As I see it, most people have done outrageous things in their past. If they didn't, I don't think they ever truly lived.

aubrey said...

wow. drive bys huh? i would have done that with one of my old boyfriends if i could. he never broke up with me, officially. we said we would keep in touch over the summer and i never heard from him again. and i was obsessed with him. so, if i knew where he lived, i definitely would have done drive bys.

and i love the movie singles.

AnnieElf said...

I've noticed that when we are young, we might not be forgiven for our outrageous actions. We are so pushed to conform. However as we grow old and actually GET there, to be outrageous is looked upon with indulgence, as though we have somehow earned the right, with age, to BE outrageous. I like to think that the best of us old outrageous gals somehow managed to survive that earlier right of passage.

tumblewords said...

Great post - lots of ponderables. Makes me wonder what I did...then I remember - oooops.

Jane Doe said...

I've never seen that movie, but now I think I'll have to check it out. Great poem, too. Have a nice day.