Life is a Balloon
A few months ago, I described a song like this: “It’s sung by a woman… and maybe I heard it in the car… and it sort of sounds like this, but not really like this…” AND YOU WERE ABLE TO TELL ME THE NAME OF THE SONG. Which is ten kinds of amazing, but let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about the fact that I did this again this week, but this time I played the song via the tiny keyboard on my phone’s version of GarageBand. I gave you 17 whole seconds of the song played on something that sounded like a Casio keyboard… and it was crickets.
This is the thing: the song came into my head as I was driving to the school to pick up the kids. I was stressed out; really stressed out. I was looping through the neighbourhood because I got there a little early, my mind on other things, when I started humming this song. And I had no clue why I was humming it or what I was trying to tell myself by humming it. All I knew was that something about it made me want to burst into tears.
I was positive it was from a movie or a television show. At first I was leaning toward television show, but I kept getting flashes of New York in my head and felt like it came from a romantic comedy. Meg Ryan? No. Woody Allen? No… Maybe? No… Tom Hanks?
I finally started Googling things like, “Romantic Comedies Set in New York.” And there, on the list, one title popped out at me: Jeffrey. Like the play by Paul Rudnick. They made it into a movie in the 1990s.
Do you know how hard it is to find Jeffrey? My copy is buried in the back of the storage room, and it’s on a VHS tape. iTunes doesn’t have Jeffrey. Netflix doesn’t have it. Amazon doesn’t have it. But Hulu has it for free. And you can see it below:
Anyway, before you watch, I want to tell you that this is one of my top 5 favourite movies of all time. It has been a while since I’ve seen it because my only copy is on VHS tape, but before I was married and got the DVD machine, I watched this movie a lot. Like a lot. I watched it whenever I was stressed out and I needed a good cry. And I am happy to report that I can still recite it.
If you only look at the surface story, it feels a little dated. But it’s really a story about going forward even though you’re scared. It’s about the impermanence of relationships and how difficult it is to give your heart to another person — any other person — because… people die. People go away. Shit happens… life happens. And we lose those people that we’ve invested all of our emotions in, that we’ve let into our heart. But even knowing that: we need to do it anyway.
As someone who is constantly scared… well, this movie spoke to me.
So if you need a good cry (and a good laugh, but mostly a good cry), watch the movie above. Especially when Nathan Lane explains the meaning of life, and later Jeffrey pulls out the red balloon.
That part gets me every time.
Really, what better love story can I give you on Valentine’s Day?