the movies and the pop songs--they're to blame for all the lies and the heartache


(That's the number for this blog entry. It will be consistent neither with the personal numbers or any film references below.)

I don't remember what day I "met" my wife, or "met" either of the girlfriends before her. Since I met them online, they were just names on a screen for a while before they became someone important to me. I know Katie mattered to me sometime in July, Miranda in June, Sarah in August. That last one--who I would later marry and from which I will soon be divorced--August 15th, 2001, what I would later call "Arrow Day." (And, not for some cheesy, Cupid-related reason, and that only even occurred to me now because I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron tonight and watched the latest episode of Arrow earlier today and the bow-and-arrow thing was in my head... No, Arrow Day took its name from a particular message board post of mine that got us talking. I posted an arrow pointing to the link to my website after mention of writing. The link was already in my signature, but the arrow directed her attention. We would not meet in person until...

(I like how Millie's story, which ends well compared to Tom's and Summer's, takes place in the background. Day (8) we see her engagement party at work. Day (402) is Millie's wedding day. Not sure why it took Millie so long to get married, but that was probably the healthy choice--get engaged and give it a little time before you commit.)

(79) ... assuming Arrow Day as Day 1. Halloween. There was none of the traditional asking out. I don't even remember how we got into conversation about meeting in person when we were 2427 miles apart. She flew out to California. We spent four days together. She flew home. Another month after that... and I don't even recall the exact date so I can't provide a day number. Day (228) we were married. By that day, Tom and Summer are on the decline. We took much longer.

(This slower pace seems like a good idea. And, actual dates, perhaps. Summer's approach--"I think you're interesting and I'd like to be friends"--seems like a good path to follow into the relationship.

But then, there's those moments in the copy room when you just have to touch each other, damn the consequences. Those moments are great in a movie, of course. Even better in reality.)

(3818) we separated for the first time.

(But, let's talk about (500) Days of Summer. It's not a love story, but it is a story about love. Not in the way that Moulin Rouge! is. Not the way that When Harry Met Sally... is. Not the way that Moonstruck is. Not the way The Mirror Has Two Faces is. Certainly not the way Pretty Woman is. Not even the way that Groundhog Day is. Not that any one of those is better at talking about love, necessarily, than any of the others. In a way, (500) Days of Summer might be the best at talking about it. Even if it isn't a love story.

"Love story" implies something specific about a film. We go into it with certain expectations.)

Like a love story in life.

(We want boy to meet girl--and we've expanded the options there lately, which is a better reflection of reality. And, we want them to get to know each other--that whole Social Penetration thing, peeling apart Shrek's onion. We expect something to get in the way, but in a love story, in a film, we know that, as a general rule, love (in a love story) can surpass the obstacle. Harry can end up with Sally. Johnny can propose to Loretta. Gregory and Rose can dance in the street. Edward can climb up the fire escape to get to Vivian. Phil and Rita can settle in Punxsutawney for the long haul. Love conquers all.)

Cinematic love, at least.

(Tom would end up with Summer if this were a "love story." Even the cutesy ending with Autumn just restarts the cycle here. It doesn't grant us a happy ending. I'm reminded of the end of The Pirate Movie. Mabel wants a happy ending. She gets a happy ending.

No more sad times, mad, or bad times

(500) Days of Summer is a romantic comedy that mostly avoids being romantic and often avoids being a comedy. It's a story about love that refuses to be a love story. It refuses us what we want.

Give me a happy ending every time
We'll kiss and make up
That's a very peaceful sign
Give me a happy ending every time
Don't be unhappy; everything will work out fine

It offers us something more honest. Love is great, but it doesn't always work out.)

It's still great while it lasts, of course. I'm not a total cynic.

(There's an interesting element to this movie in where certain moments take place. Day (4), Tom meets Summer in the elevator. Day (402), well after they've broken up, they meet again on a train. The relationship is triggered in a place that moves, and here (Millie's wedding just happened as I'm watching) the spark is rekindled (or so Tom and the audience might think) on another moving platform. Life keeps on chugging along like a train, or taking us on a lot of ups and downs like an elevator, and people come into our lives and drop out of our lives.

Bringing something we must learn

...I suppose.

...I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

We become part that other person. And, we lose a part of ourselves. Tom becomes a little bit Summer. Summer becomes a little bit Tom. She's only open to marrying the guy that comes after Tom because she was with Tom, because he wanted something she didn't before. Tom should have a better--but maybe not easier--time with Autumn than Summer. He's learned something.)

I, too, learned something from the first relationship that affected how the second went, and from the second that affected the third, and from the third that will affect the fourth.

Today is Day (2) with (500) Days of Summer, Day (637) with this blog, Day (5008) with this relationship, Day (14338) with life. (On the outside, anyway. I'm not counting the womb.)

(500) Days of Summer's narrator tells us that most days of the year have no impact on a life. I disagree. Every day has impact. The impact may be small, or the impact may hit someone else harder than it hits you. But, the impact is there.

I think Phil Connors would agree.

And so would Tom Hansen.


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