The Movie: Alfie, 1966 (Bill Naughton, screenwriter; Lewis Gilbert, dir.)
Who says it: Michael Caine as Alfie, a charming cad
The context: Alfie has just been rejected by the one woman he loved, the older, wealthy Ruby (Shelley Winters).
How to use it: To express admiration for something no one else thinks is beautiful.
Yesterday's trip: 722 miles, 2.3 tanks of gas
Stops: Albuquerque, NM; Tucumcari, NM; Adrian, TX; Elk City, OK; Oklahoma City
Roadside attractions I did not stop for: Billy the Kid's tombstone; a "Bug Ranch" outside Amarillo, where half a dozen VW Beetles were half-buried in the ground at 45-degree angles; and the Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere, "a spiritual experience you'll never forget," complete with gift shop.
My sister Susan lived in Albuquerque for a few years, and she told me yesterday that when she drove out from Virginia Beach, she almost turned around when she hit the stretch of I-40 around Amarillo. She thought it was ugly; it was so different from the environment we grew up in.
That area's gotten more rain than usual this year, though, so yesterday it was green -- as green as it ever gets -- and I thought it was really beautiful. The sky out there goes on forever.
I stopped at the Wal-Mart in Elk City to buy dog food. It's hard to deny the power of Wal-Mart; I went on a small shopping spree for Dizzy, and spent a grand total of $14. In the checkout line, I stood behind a rail-thin young woman who bought half a dozen boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes, some school supplies, a pack of cigarettes and two boxes of shotgun ammunition.
For the rest of the drive to Oklahoma City, I imagined what her life is like. Maybe she's a schoolteacher with a creative approach to classroom discipline.