Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"Stop playing your Chinese food mind games!"

The movie: Dude, Where's My Car?, 2000 (Philip Stark, screenwriter, Danny Leiner, dir.)
Who says it: Jesse (Ashton Kutcher), to the disembodied fuzzy-speaker Chinese women on the loudspeaker
The context: The heros of our movie cannot complete their takeout food order, as each time they say the last thing, the voice asks, "And then?"
How to use it: to drive my older daughter crazy. (Okay, or simply to have fun with an insanely stupid but lovable moment.)

Driving Lucy home the other day, we were listening to the Buffy musical in the car, and ended up singing the Xander/Anya number, each of us playing a part. Silly, yes, cheesy, perhaps, and absolutely a moment of joy for me. While there’s an element of “one of us/one of us” (see: Freaks entry) to this, I confess that being able to share that moment with Lucy marked a kind of initiation, a moment in time proving that she has yes gone through a stealth growth phase and become oh so much more a grown-up than I’ll ever want to admit. This moment of sitting together perfectly aligned in our pleasure, simply enjoying this without explaining it, marked a moment that could never be planned or commemorated but which nonetheless was a milestone.

It reinforced to me how powerful the secret language of families (in all their definitions) really are. Sure, Philip Larkin, misery may deepen like a coastal shelf, but, at the same time, so do these same tidal flows bring deep joy as well. And who else to share this with but an intimate circle of people, who, like you, get the same joke, who share at an upspoken and unprovable level a shared love.

In our family I like to think of it as a high-low love. The girls know their Shakespeare (at eight Hayley can recite the last Puck monologue from Midsummer's Night Dream,) but at the same time, they know their Spongebob too.

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